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Kenneth Cole apologizes for tweet using Egypt protests to promote fashion line

February 4, 2011 |  3:44 pm

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Kenneth Cole sent out a controversial tweet that used the unrest in Egypt to promote his spring fashion line.

The message, sent out by Cole personally, has sparked a wave of criticism and controversy that hasn't let up much despite the fashion designer apologizing and taking down the offending tweet.

Cole's tweet, sent via the line's @KennethCole account, stated:

Millions are in an uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC 

A few hours after the tweet was posted Thursday, Cole himself issued this statement on his label's Facebook page:

I apologize to everyone who was offended by my insensitive tweet about the situation in Egypt. I’ve dedicated my life to raising awareness about serious social issues, and in hindsight my attempt at humor regarding a nation liberating themselves against oppression was poorly timed and absolutely inappropriate.

Kenneth Cole, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer

The tweet also has boosted the number of people following the @KennethCole account by about 3,000 within just a few hours, according to a report from the Associated Press. The link in the message directed people to the online store for the lines Kenneth Cole New York and Kenneth Cole Reaction.

On Friday afternoon, after many comments on Facebook and Twitter both in support of and condemning Cole, the designer wrote another statement on his line's Facebook page saying:

I have spent a considerable amount of time reading your comments, and value your insights and feedback. I want to reiterate that my use of levity with regard to this momentous event was extremely inappropriate. My thoughts are with the courageous people of Egypt. -KC

And in what is becoming typical Twitter fashion, an account mocking Kenneth Cole was set up, spoofing Cole and writing a full stream of offensive tweets.

On Friday afternoon, a tweet from @FakeKennethCole said:

We stand with the people of Egypt. President Mubarak -- step down NOW, and I'll give you 15% off any non-sale item in our stores.* -FKC

ALSO:

Wael Ghonim, Google's still-missing exec in Egypt, named spokesman for opposition group

Egypt's Internet is back, Anonymous hacktivist group gets involved

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

twitter.com/nateog

Photo: A screen shot of the controversial tweet sent Thursday by Kenneth Cole. Credit: Associated Press

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