Calvin Klein has apologised after being accused of 'queer baiting' with an advert, which showed Bella Hadid kissing computer-generated model Lil Miquela - saying it hadn't intended to 'misrepresent the LGTBQ+ community'.
The ad was released as part of Calvin Klein's 'My Calvins' campaign, and sees model Hadid appear alongside the computer-generated Lil Miquela - who, despite being a fictional character, was named as one of TIME magazine's 25 Most Influential People On The Internet list last year, which also featured the likes of Kanye West, Kylie Jenner, Donald Trump and Rihanna.
In the clip, Hadid moves over to Lil Miquela and places a hand on her cheek, before the two 'kiss'.
"Life is about opening doors," the ad says.
"Creating new dreams you never knew could exist."
Many people flocked to social media to say the company should have considered using models from within the LGBT community, something that applies to neither heterosexual Hadid, nor her avatar co-star.
Bella Hadid and Lil Miquela in a promotional shot. Credit: Calvin Klein/Instagram
Others even accused Calvin Klein of 'queer baiting', which the Urban Dictionary defines as: "People in the media add homoerotic tension between two characters to attract more liberal and queer viewers with the indication of them not ever getting together for real in the show/book/movie."
One angered Instagrammer commented: "Queer baiting with a problematic robot? Good job Calvin Klein!"
Someone else agreed, saying: "A whole new level of queer-baiting. Yes a straight girl and a female animated robot, such representation, definitely not for the money without giving any actually representation."
Another said: "Wow what an missed opportunity to give the lgbtq community some real presence in fashion. Guess we're not real enough for Calvin."
Someone else wrote: "The correct way to represent queer affection is showing queers kissing - no digital renderings necessary. There's plenty of us available, I promise.
A fifth added: "This is tragic. Throw the whole marketing team away."
The kiss in the advert. Credit: Calvin Klein
Calvin Klein has since apologised, having issued a statement on Saturday that said: "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.
"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 offence we caused."
Featured Image Credit: Calvin Klein