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Never Has The Term “Public Relations” Been More Literal

Never has the term ' public relations' been more literal

Like any person who isn’t a psychopath, I was horrified when Ye used his Instagram platform to take down Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, Vogue’s global contributing fashion editor at large, for daring to criticise his Yeezy show. Her critique was measured and intelligent: his response was toxic and vindictive. “This is not a fashion person,” he posted to his 18m followers, alongside an image of Karefa-Johnson, going on to mock her boots. The backlash was swift. Ye was denounced as a bully, with Hailey Bieber, Gigi Hadid, Supreme’s Tremaine Emory and Vogue issuing statements to defend her and condone him.  

As well as being exhausting and devastating for Karefa-Johnson, the incident cast a toxic shadow over Paris Fashion Week, sucking publicity from other, smaller brands at a time they needed it most. Ye might have apologised to Karefa-Johnston, but he is still firing off incendiary Instagram posts, even targeting LVMH’s Bernard Arnault.

Instagram stopped being an innocent photo-sharing app years ago. That it has turned into a platform where the most carefully controlled PR exercises, and the most tightly protected people, can be targeted at breakfast and top of the news agenda by lunchtime is every PR’s worst nightmare, but something that they need to plan for nonetheless. Never has the term “public relations” been so literal.

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