Queerbaiting is a marketing technique where same-sex romance is hinted at but then not actually depicted in order to attract a queer audience while at the same time trying to avoid alienating heterosexual consumers.
A 30-second Calvin Klein ad that shows model Bella Hadid kissing female robot Lil Miquela is under scrutiny for queerbaiting.
A woman’s voice, which sounds like Hadid’s, says “Life is opening doors.” Then Lil Miquela approaches Hadid who caresses the robot’s face and kisses her while the voice says, “Creating new dreams that you never knew could exist.”
— Miquela (@lilmiquela) May 16, 2019
But many users on Twitter felt that Calvin Klein should have used an LGBT model.
There are plenty of real LGBTQ Models that could have been used. #noexcuse
— Hillary Halsten (@hills02) May 17, 2019
Please don’t queerbait!!!!!!!!!!!!
— Hannah Rimm (@hannahrimm) May 17, 2019
Calvin Klein responded on Twitter on Friday with a statement:
“The concept for our latest #MYCALVINS campaign is to promote freedom of expression for a wide range of identities, including a spectrum of gender and sexual identities,” the statement read. “This specific campaign was created to challenge conventional norms and stereotypes in advertising. In this particular video, we explored the blurred lines between reality and imagination.
We understand and acknowledge how featuring someone who identifies as heterosexual in a same-sex kiss could be perceived as queer-baiting. As a company with a longstanding tradition of advocating for LGTBQ+ rights, it was certainly not our intention to misrepresent the LGTBQ+ community. We sincerely regret any offense we caused.”