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Curvy French women sue Lagerfeld over ‘fat’ slurs

A French group representing full-figured women has launched legal action against outspoken fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld over comments he made, in which he blamed France’s welfare deficit on “fat people” adding that “nobody wants to see round women on the catwalk.”

Curvy French women sue Lagerfeld over ‘fat’ slurs
"The hole in social security is due to all the diseases caught by people who are too fat." Karl Lagerfeld and French activist Betty Aubrière. Photos: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Betty Aubrière/Youtube

The French organization ‘Belle, Ronde, Sexy et je m’assume’ (Beautiful, Round, Sexy and Ok with it), has taken legal action against fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld, the group’s president said on Tuesday.

Betty Aubrière told AFP her organization, which fights on behalf of full-figured women, was demanding “a right to respond to and confront” Lagerfeld over comments he made during a French television appearance earlier this month.

She also confirmed she had filed a complaint of “discrimination and defamation” in the Charente-Maritime region of south-western France, against the German-born Lagerfeld, who has lived in France for decades.

During the October 4th episode of ‘Le Grand 8’ on French TV channel D8, Lagerfeld accused “fat people” of being responsible for a deficit in France’s healthcare system.

“The hole in social security, it’s also [due to] all the diseases caught by people who are too fat,” said Lagerfeld.

He also reiterated his previously-stated view that: “Nobody wants to see round women on the catwalk.”

Attacking the creative director of the Chanel fashion house, Aubrière told AFP: “These insults by public personalities must stop.”

“We’re sick of it. There are many young girls who don’t feel comfortable in their skin, and for them to hear comments like that is terrible for them,” said Aubrière.

“Today it’s [Lagerfeld] who finds us offensive. Who will it be tomorrow?” she added.

This isn’t the first time that Lagerfeld has found himself in hot water over his views on female beauty and weight.

He caused consternation in 2012 when he criticised award-winning British singer Adele in an interview with Metro France newspaper.

“Adele is a little bit too fat, but she has a pretty face and a divine voice,” he said.

After an international outcry, the vocalist responded, in an interview with People magazine.

“'I've never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women and I'm very proud of that,” Adele said.

“I'd lose weight if I was an actress and had to play a role where you're supposed to be 40 pounds lighter, but weight has nothing to do with my career,” she added.

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OBESITY

US giant Coca-Cola ‘paid €8m to influence French health researchers’

US beverage giant Coca-Cola paid more than €8 million in France to health professionals and researchers in a bid to influence research,according to an investigation by French newspaper Le Monde published on Thursday.

US giant Coca-Cola 'paid €8m to influence French health researchers'
Obesity is on the rise in France. Photo:AFP

The newspaper said the aim of the funds was to have research published that would divert attention away from the detrimental effect of sugary drinks on health.

Le Monde, in its front page story, said Coca-Cola paid more than “€8 million to experts, various medical organisations and also sporting and event organisations.”

It said in France, as elsewhere, the financing fell under communication or sponsorship and not as authentic scientific work.

Coca-Cola has been under a similar spotlight before, after the New York Times in 2015 reported that the company gave financial backing to scientists who argued that having more exercise is more important to avoiding obesity than cutting calories.

In the outcry that followed that report, the firm promised to improve transparency and publish on its site the names of experts and activities it finances in the United States.

It did the same for France in 2016 following pressure from the NGO Foodwatch and it is this data that has been intensely analysed by Le Monde.

Le Monde said that as in the US, the company's financing is aimed at “making people forget the risks that come with consuming its drinks”.

In a separate report, the Journal of Public Health Policy said Coca-Cola added multiple clauses to ensuring the research it funds produces the desired result.

These include preventing results that displease the company being published by reserving the right to break contracts without giving a reason.

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