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Designer Tweets Egyptian Riots Due to His New Line Coming Out 142

Posted by samzenpus
from the foot-in-mouth dept.
Famous shoe designer Kenneth Cole stuck his fabulously shod foot into his mouth by tweeting, "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online..." After an uproar from people who don't think revolution jokes are funny, he issued the following tweet: "we weren't intending to make light of a serious situation. We understand the sensitivity of this historic moment."
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Designer Tweets Egyptian Riots Due to His New Line Coming Out

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  • Further news updates will follow at 5

    • by h00manist (800926)
      He would be wiser to make it right by sending Mubarak a million out-of-fashion, leftover, unpopular, unsold shoes.
      • by Obfuscant (592200)

        He would be wiser to make it right by sending Mubarak a million out-of-fashion, leftover, unpopular, unsold shoes.

        No, that would be Imelda Marcos, you insensitive clod.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          Q: You know what happens if the Egyptian rioters win don't you??

          A: They meet Tunisia in the finals!!!

          Thank you, I'll be here all week...please try the veal, and make sure to tip your waitress.

      • by JordanL (886154)
        That would likely be a form of insult in the Muslim/Arab world...
        • by h00manist (800926)

          That would likely be a form of insult in the Muslim/Arab world...

          No kidding. A defamation lawsuit from Hosni Mubarak, fallen dictator of Egypt, vs Kenneth Cole, London shoemaker, for offending the public dignity, honor, and good name of the dictator, by sending him a million old, outdated, out-of-fashion, unwanted and rejected shoes. Man, the story would be so good you could make a movie on it.

        • by camperslo (704715)

          Throwing shoes is an insult, but providing free shoes for poor people wouldn't be. One has to look at secondary effects to see what sorts of aid actually help. Giving away shoes might harm local businesses that manufacture them. Some parts of Africa that has some work manufacturing clothing couldn't compete with bulk imports of clothing from places such as U.S. thrift stores. A great deal of clothing that doesn't sell in thrift stores at retail ends up sold of cheaply by the pound and works its way into

  • by mr100percent (57156) on Friday February 04, 2011 @03:32PM (#35106088) Homepage Journal

    People will always be idiots. If you go back and read the slashdot stories on 9/11/2001 there were morons who were posting "Someone set up us the bomb!"

    I suppose this one is more newsworthy by the fact that he put his real name on it and it's unusually tacky for someone considered so professional.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby (1163751)

      If he would have left the hashtag out probably no one would have cared. Yes, it's still tasteless, but at least it wouldn't have been clogging up the Cairo feeds with advertising. That takes it from tasteless to complete assholishness; it isn't the joke IMO, it's the fact that he was using interest in the revolution to sell his product.

      • Well let's get all OUTRAGED then. Shit they sell outrage in stores in bulk now don't they We could go on a fucking bender.

      • I agree. I couldn't care less about the joke, and his only Cairo reference being joke just makes him an ass. Nothing special about that.
        But tagging it so that he can have advertising to anyone reading about the situation in Egypt is just low, even for a profiteer.

        • Agreed, it just proves how shallow the fashion industry is. These people are a vapid waste of oxygen at best, scum at worst.

        • NO it does not. It makes him very clever.

          Look at how much publicity he is getting. He got even Slashdot to mention his spring collection.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What, that is funny! Get a LIFE people!

      • Tasteless, offensive and even agressive and outright illegal can still be funny, even if only to a few people. The fact that some laugh doesn't magically make it not offensive to many others. On the contrary, it adds to the offense. I'm sure Sarah Palin and many others might have considered it quite funny to add gun sights to some congressional districts on a map and make lots of gun jokes in politics. That didn't make any of it a non-offense to many others. And in fact, dangerous, even if that very gunma
    • by Zironic (1112127) on Friday February 04, 2011 @04:05PM (#35106436)

      Fuck political correctness, if people want to joke about the revolution let them.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Locke2005 (849178)
        Joking is one thing. Using the revolution to pimp your new line of shoes goes way beyond comedy, into the realm of douche-baggery and assholery. While on the one hand, "Any publicity is good publicity!", on the other hand, I hope many people that hear of this will boycott him. So I'm not sure whether being a douche represents a net gain or net loss to his business. I wasn't going to buy any of his shoes anyway, and my wife... well, let's just say she already owns more pairs of shoes than Imelda Marcos, but
        • by geekoid (135745)

          Fuck political correctness, as long as people aren't hurting anyone and want to be douche-bags and assholes let them."

          • by Locke2005 (849178)

            Fuck political correctness, as long as people aren't hurting anyone and want to be douche-bags and assholes let them.

            Isn't that the motto of the producers of Jersey Shore?

          • by h00manist (800926)

            Fuck political correctness, as long as people aren't hurting anyone and want to be douche-bags and assholes let them."

            Yes, indeed, everyone is free to be assholes whenever they want, and the rest of us, free to remind everyone that repeatedly freely choose to be assholes, whenever we want.

        • by 517714 (762276)
          You must not have been paying attention for the last decade or two. Commercial free speech is the only form of free speech protected by the US Government.
        • "Kenneth Cole - our shoes are worth throwing at Mubarak... or at Kenneth Cole!"

          - RG>

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bonch (38532)

          Why would you hope others boycott him? Why do you care if he jokes about Cairo to announce a new line of shoes? How does it affect your life, and who is he hurting by it? America has become a country full of wimps feigning outrage and looking for meaningless causes to take up.

          • by Locke2005 (849178)
            Simply because I hate to see people profiting from being douchebags -- it encourages other people to be douchebags, and we've got far more douchebags than we need already.
      • by smcn (87571)

        Of course. I don't think any rational person would argue he shouldn't be allowed to tweet such a thing, but we can still call him an asshole.

      • by nedlohs (1335013)

        And if people want to call those people idiots, let them.

    • by Crag (18776) on Friday February 04, 2011 @04:34PM (#35106690)

      Two hypothetical 9/11inspried scenarios:

      1) 3000 people die at the hands of random extremists and nobody makes any jokes.

      2) 3000 people die at the hands of random extremists and someone references AYBABTU.

      I like the second scenario better. I probably won't laugh if I know a victim, but other people's laughter doesn't hurt me.

      Not laughing at tragedy doesn't make it less tragic. Laughing is one of the ways people cope. There is no harm in growing a thicker skin. We can still have feelings and care about life without revering life. Death happens.

      Life is for the living. Cry until you laugh, laugh until you can't breath then sleep it off and move on.

      • That's all well and good, but in reality it's uncivilized and boorish to mock the suffering of others. You should also consider that none of us is required to "grow a thicker skin". Option "B", which is always available, is beating the crap out of the creep who thinks your suffering is funny.

        I've never had anyone make fun of me while I was mourning a loved one, for example, but if I ever caught someone doing something like that, I'd stick my size 13 boot straight up their ass.

        Violence is difficult to admi

        • by Zironic (1112127)

          They're not being mocked, that's the thing, it's a joke.But fine, if people want to go out of their way to take offense at things in no way intended to mock them, that's their right.

          What I don't get is why people go and take offense at their behalf, what sort of fucked up behavior is that? If it wasn't so common I would have thought it to be some kind of severe mental illness. Are peoples lives so sad and pathetic they can't find their own things to care about so they have to take other peoples?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      He could donate shoes to be thrown, in true Arabic Tradition.

      Imagine the free publicity if one of his shoes hits the mark

    • by laejoh (648921)
      What happen?
    • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Friday February 04, 2011 @05:37PM (#35107152) Homepage Journal

      And it was funny as hell, as this is.

      I mean, the guy is in an industry where dry sarcasm and snarky wit rules the day.

      People who are "offended' by this have either never been really offended, or need to find a hobby.

  • by fridaynightsmoke (1589903) on Friday February 04, 2011 @03:33PM (#35106100) Homepage
    Congratulations. By retweeting and posting news stories about this, you've given this designer guy undreamed of publicity. I'm sure he's gutted.
    • Tag article "streissandeffect" - except we're the ones causing it this time.

      • I hereby declare that the feedback loop of publicity caused by outraged discussion of a tasteless or otherwise disreputable publicity stunt or advertisement be named "The Cole Effect".

        Ironically this, if used, add to the publicity generated for this Mr. Cole by referring to him every time something similar happens in the future.

        • That's a better name, since this isn't exactly a Streissand Effect.

          And naming a douchebaggery-triggered feedback loop of publicity after this guy can only generate purely negative publicity (outside of marketing courses).

        • by jonbryce (703250)

          In Britain, we would probably call this the Benetton effect, after a clothes store called United Colours of Benetton who used the outrage from shocking ads as a way of spreading publicity.

    • > By retweeting and posting news stories about this, you've given this designer guy undreamed of publicity.

      I'm sure you're right: he never dreamed that hundreds of thousands of people would think him an insensitive asshole.

      • by tverbeek (457094)
        But a month from now they won't remember that he was an insensitive asshole. All they'll remember the next time they encounter his name is that it's familiar to them, which will usually lead them to associate it with "famous" or some other vaguely-positive trait.
        • by h00manist (800926)

          But a month from now they won't remember that he was an insensitive asshole. All they'll remember the next time they encounter his name is that it's familiar to them, which will usually lead them to associate it with "famous" or some other vaguely-positive trait.

          Yes, everyone forgot about the negative publicity that company Arthur Andersen got. They are doing great now. There is no bad publicity.

      • by h00manist (800926)

        > By retweeting and posting news stories about this, you've given this designer guy undreamed of publicity.

        I'm sure you're right: he never dreamed that hundreds of thousands of people would think him an insensitive asshole.

        Wear Your Shoes in Kenneths Asshole. Kenneth Asshole Cole rymes with Kenneths shoe smells, Asshole. Assholes smell like Kenneth Coles. Repeat one million times. Now assign value to the shoe.

    • by Stregano (1285764)
      So maybe I should check out this shoe line.
    • Congratulations. By retweeting and posting news stories about this, you've given this designer guy undreamed of publicity. I'm sure he's gutted.

      I think there is a point when a company/brand name is so well known that not all publicity is in-fact good publicity. If Kenneth Cole was some small single store in the middle of no where then yes this would have been a boon but it's not. I'm too tired to look for examples for company stock price dips when the get bad publicity but I'm sure they are there.

    • by cayenne8 (626475)

      "Congratulations. By retweeting and posting news stories about this, you've given this designer guy undreamed of publicity. I'm sure he's gutted."

      Yeah, but sadly for him...I'm guessing the Slashdot crowd isn't exactly his target market. Likely not a lot of high end shoes wearers in here...

  • If he understood 'the sensitivity of this historic moment', he wouldn't have made the joke in the first place, what a dumbass!
    • Rich, disconnected asshole makes bad joke about Egyptian uprising, realizes he made a mistake, and backtracks (poorly).

      Move along, nothing to see here.

  • by Onuma (947856) on Friday February 04, 2011 @03:36PM (#35106122)
    Heaven forbid anyone actually makes light of a situation. I'm sure it's no carnival being in Cairo right now, but if it were anyone other than a famous person making that comment, most other people would have simply laughed it away. Now we've got a guy who thought it would be opportune to make a joke (albeit a slightly off-color joke) backpedaling and issuing half-serious apologies.

    Someone got butt-hurt about it and everyone dog piled Kenneth Cole. Get over it already!
    • by 0racle (667029)
      Pretty much. People need to realize that not everyone holds your sacred moments as sacred.
      • by Onuma (947856)
        Exactly. Wait til this has been in the news more than a couple of weeks, and everyone from Jon Stewart to Conan O'Brien will have it in their comedy routine, if they don't already!
    • by eepok (545733)

      It's ok for some people to make some statements and not for others. If the statement had been made by a comedian or some serially rebellious organization, it would be outright funny and "edgy"-- but those things do not describe Kenneth Cole.

      This situation is like your white uncle repeating jokes done by racy black stand-up comedians at work. It doesn't work and it would be inappropriate.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Stregano (1285764)
      The difference was that what he did was not really a joke. It was a way for him to get people who were using that feed to see his advertisement. Makes jokes in the feed all you want, but DON"T sit there dropping ads in it and then trying to backtrack to say it was a joke.
      • by geekoid (135745)

        It was a joke. The fact that he used a joke to pedal his where doesn't mean it wasn't a joke. It was a joke.

        Of course, I'm replying to someone who is thinks porn is some how innovators.
        With rare exception, they are not innovators at all. The jump on any and all products. If you had bothered to look into the porn industry, you would understand that.

  • by Stenchwarrior (1335051) on Friday February 04, 2011 @03:37PM (#35106154)
    Kenneth Cole is still going to sell his shoes and what-not to the people with money to burn; it's more fashionable to be seen in his clothes, regardless of his tactlessness. In some circles, his stock will likely now rise.
  • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SkankinMonkey (528381) on Friday February 04, 2011 @03:38PM (#35106160)
    I thought it was funny without making fun of the protesters or anyone involved. It's clear they weren't being serious....why so uptight planet earth?
    • A lot of folk lose their sense of humor when Death is hanging out in the room.
      • by Onuma (947856)
        A select few of us tend to sharpen ours. Having been several meters away from exploding ordnance, I can appreciate the comedy of life itself. When a gust of wind is all that separates you from potential death, little shit like people throwing rocks at each other is absolutely hilarious.
        • by scubamage (727538)

          A select few of us tend to sharpen ours. Having been several meters away from exploding ordnance, I can appreciate the comedy of life itself. When a gust of wind is all that separates you from potential death, little shit like people throwing rocks at each other is absolutely hilarious.

          I'll raise a beer to that.

      • by scubamage (727538)
        Thats a silly reason, every living thing dies. It is an ultimate, incircumventable fact. Losing your sense of humor because death is involved is like losing your sense of humor because 1+1=2, or because Newton's laws exist.
        • by formfeed (703859)

          Thats a silly reason, every living thing dies.

          Yeah, but not every person dies because they get slaughtered by government thugs while fighting for their basic rights.
          Some luckier ones get a few more decades to enjoy sitting at the pool watching others die.

        • Newton's laws don't exist, except as abstract mathematical idealizations. They don't model reality except approximately. That wasn't quite your point, but still, one can tie "1+1=2" to reality via counting in a way you can't with Newton's laws. Also, it's not necessarily the case that every living thing dies--perhaps there are some immortal aliens or some such thing; it's a big universe. Still, every living thing I'm aware of will die.
    • Yeah, I agree about the original. The second tweet, "we weren't intending to make light of a serious situation. We understand the sensitivity of this historic moment.", did annoy me, though. They certainly were making light of a serious situation--which isn't necessarily bad--and the sensitivity bit is just BS to make him look better.

      If the original was intended to provide marketing by provoking a reaction, then it was a rotten thing to do. But I think it's clear the guy had a mild joke in mind with a bunc
  • Did anyone else read that tweet in an excruciatingly exaggerated swish accent?
  • Uh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by saihung (19097) on Friday February 04, 2011 @03:44PM (#35106212)

    "We understand the sensitivity of this historic moment."
    No, I'm pretty sure that's not true. But that's fine guys, go on turning out Chinese sweatshop products anyway. I'm sure someone will be stupid enough to buy them.

  • I'm sure Cole knows all publicity is good publicity. It won't hurt sales one bit.

  • #KennyCole is irrelevant except in Egypt!

  • Check out their new PR page on twitter! http://twitter.com/KennethColePR [twitter.com]
  • The problem isn't the joke. The problem is that he didn't wait for a sufficient period of time to make the joke. :-p

  • Lol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scubamage (727538) on Friday February 04, 2011 @03:55PM (#35106348)
    I personally think its funny. In poor taste yes, but still funny.
    • by dmbasso (1052166)

      Yep, I agree. The problem is lack of sense of humor. It is not like what he said would change anything anyway... so why not laugh at it? Generally speaking, it is much better for one to laugh at oneself when ridiculed than to get angry. For instance, sometimes people joke about my username being 'dumbass'... should I get angry? Of course not, it is really funny :)

      People should stop being so anal, for their own benefit.

  • by uqbar (102695) on Friday February 04, 2011 @03:57PM (#35106376)

    While tasteless, in the end this company has always been activist and worked hard to raise money and awareness of important causes. Michael Musto says cut him a break and I think he's right: http://blogs.villagevoice.com/dailymusto/2011/02/kenneth_cole_ca.php [villagevoice.com]

    • I agree. His foundation "For Children that Can't Read Good" is high on my donation list each year. Ever since his friends were killed in a freak explosion during a playful gasoline fight at a gas station, K Cole has re-focused his efforts to make the world a more stylish place to live. Something I think the poor of Cairo can truly appreciate. I for one will go out a buy some new K Cole shoes immediately.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    So how long before the Chris Crocker video?

    LEAVE KENNETH COLE ALONE!

  • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Friday February 04, 2011 @04:12PM (#35106490) Homepage

    I don't see this as someone making light of a bad situation. I see it more as an expression of capitalism -- 'Someone's gotta make money off this'.

    With that in mind, there's a lot of analogues to Cantor and Seagal [wikipedia.org], who in 1994 launched the first mass Usenet spam. In hindsight it was surprising that nobody thought to do it before them. If you have a bunch of people talking in a public, unmoderated forum with a specific topic, why not (aside from good manners) drop advertisements on those people?

    Twitter is now where Usenet was in 1994 -- lots of people, talking in public, unmoderated 'hash tag' discussion threads. Of course people are going to spam those threads with ads. There will be outrage over it, but if it proves profitable it'll become more prevalent. Spam could potentially flood the signal out of some long-standing hash tag discussions. If that happens, Twitter will go the way of Usenet.

    Kenneth Cole is just the first person in Twitter's upcoming Eternal September [wikipedia.org]. Don't hate him, he or someone like him was fated to appear eventually.

    • by srmalloy (263556)

      With some allowance for the media involved, Kenneth Cole's "twitvert" can probably be traced back in concept to the "blipverts" used by Zik Zak in 'Max Headroom'.

  • I'm always amused at stories about "uproar" in the "twitterverse" over inane things like this. So a bunch of people sitting at their computers got pissed that someone was sullying up their clean hashtags? And then tweeted back that they were mad? It makes me want to start tagging all my shit with #cairo just to piss them off, too. Puhlease. Maybe instead of getting pissed at a twitter posting you should get out and be proactive at stopping injustices rather than bitching about it on the internet.
  • Well, one of his ad slogans is "Make the Most of Wearing Times." I guess commercially exploiting them counts.
  • by eyenot (102141)

    This is no worse than using footage of the Hindenberg disaster to get people to hurry up to your Lay-Z-Boy sale, or whatever. It's an advertising classic. What Cole did was audacious and edgy in the standards of the fashion world, which always has been and always will be in its own separate culture (unless we take some socialist supremacist stride to level them out in which case it would be the death of fashion). It's what's called artistic license. And in the case of the high fashion world you don't merely

  • He could have made a rape joke [tumblr.com].

    • I'm offended by the amount of stupid on that page.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      I was really hoping no one would have posted that. It doesn't need any more attention, nor does the fanatic that started it.

    • by Ant P. (974313)

      Wow, how desperate for attention does someone have to be to drag out trivial shit like that for half a year? If you cared about making a positive difference you wouldn't be running a blog devoted to stalking a webcomic artist.

  • by Memophage (88273) on Friday February 04, 2011 @04:23PM (#35106590)

    The more amusing footnotes to this story are the #kennethcoletweets tweets that everyone is making up now:
    http://twitter.com/#!/search/%23kennethcoletweets [twitter.com]

    @KennethColePR: "People from New Orleans are flooding into Kenneth Cole stores!" #KennethColeTweets
    @KennethColePR: Jeffrey Dahmer would have eaten up our spring collection! #KennethColeTweets
    And many more...

  • The media is hyper-jacking Egypt at us 24/7. It is giving us a lot of sound and fury, but not much of real substance. The journos crave Egypt-related stories to feed the firestorm. Kenneth Cole is tuned into the vibe and feeds the hungry journos. And the rest is history.

  • "Even Jared Loughner is impressed by how crazy our new fall line is!"
  • http://twitpic.com/3widwp [twitpic.com]

    Do you think for a second it is their for any reason but humor?

    Do you really think he is trying to get rioters to purchase his goods during the uproar?

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