PETA "softer approach" fails, Fashion mag rejects


Mar 11, 2001
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October 19, 2001

An attempt by the usually rabid animal rights activists People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to soften up their approach in the wake of the terrorist attacks has backfired.

The group told Fashion Buzz they're vowing to not disrupt this year's VH1/Vogue Fashion Awards, being taped tonight at the Hammerstein Ballroom, overseen by their arch fur-boosting enemy Anna Wintour - "out of respect for the war-weary residents of the city."

At last year's event, PETA operatives jeered people strolling down the red carpet, and in years past they've thrown pies and even taken over the runway to protest the use of fur. Most recently, at the CFDA Awards, Calvin Klein was hit with a tofu pie intended for fur fan Karl Lagerfeld. Of course, with the way things are today, any PETA assailants would run the risk of being shot.

Instead, PETA took up a collection among supporters, including Kim Basinger, Russell Simmons, Martina Navratilova, designer Marc Bouwer and Q Model Management to sponsor an $11,000 full-page ad in Women's Wear Daily they planned to have run on Tuesday, the day the show airs on VH1. PETA reserved the space with WWD and were told their artwork was approved this week.

Calling on the fashion trade to "be creative without being destructive," the ad features a photo of a fox cub and the headline, "With so much violence in the world beyond our control, please take a step toward eliminating the suffering you can stop by no longer designing or promoting fur."

There's only one problem - yesterday afternoon after we called WWD to ask them about it, they initially said they'd decided to reject the ad, then claimed the artwork is still "pending creative approval." A spokesperson declined to comment further, but since WWD is under the same corporate umbrella as Vogue after Si Newhouse's purchase of Fairchild Publications, it may be a show of corporate solidarity - albeit, an expensive one in a time of economic strife.

PETA's Dan Mathews was taken off-guard by the decision since WWD was initially only too happy to take the group's money.

"When tactics escalate against fur designers, they'll have Women's Wear Daily to thank," Mathews declared when we gave him the bad news. "This is sort of a shock after they completely accepted it on Tuesday."

If the ad doesn't run, Mathews won't rule out the possibility that PETA might try to disrupt the awards after all. "This is a perfect example of why activists have to resort to aggressive tactics," he says. "We were trying to extend an olive branch, but we'll have to consider all our options."

A Vogue spokesman had, predictably, no comment.

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