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Twitter Is Very Divided Over a Thing Designer & Director Tom Ford Didn’t Actually Say About Melania Trump

Designer/director Tom Ford on the red carpet, not insulting Melania Trump

A quote from designer/director Tom Ford is trending on Twitter right now and the reactions are extremely divided. Some are applauding the shade of Melania Trump, as he reportedly called her a “glorified escort,” while others are calling for a boycott.

First of all, it’s not clear what the latter group is boycotting, exactly. His $3,600 mini-clutch? The $300 boxers? Or maybe they’re planning to burn all their Blu-rays of Nocturnal Animals. It doesn’t matter, because he didn’t actually say the thing people are celebrating/condemning.

The quote in question, which has been circulating on Twitter, cites Ford as saying, “I have no interest in dressing a glorified escort who steals speeches and has bad taste in men.” If that sounds familiar, it’s because, as Vox points out, the same fake quote was going around after Trump’s election in (fake) reference to Melania’s inauguration outfit.

According to Ford’s spokesperson, “This is an absolutely fabricated and completely fake quote that has somehow gone viral. Mr. Ford did not make this statement; it is completely false.”

In the past, though, Ford has commented on his refusal to dress the First Lady, even before she got that title. Just weeks after the 2016 election, Ford told the hosts of The View that he’d been asked to dress her years before that, but that he turned down the offer. “She’s not necessarily my image,” he said. (Donald Trump, in his infinite inability to separate criticism from actual fake news, gave an aggressively Trumpian denial that Ford had ever been asked to dress his wife, saying Melania “never asked Tom Ford, doesn’t like Tom Ford, doesn’t like his designs.”)

After the election, though, Ford passed his reasoning off as being more about principle than image. “Even had Hillary won, she shouldn’t be wearing my clothes,” he said. “They’re too expensive.” The First Lady (or the President) should be more relatable.

Many people at the time–and again now–have pointed out that Michelle Obama wore a Tom Ford gown when the Obamas were living in the White House. Ford justified that that only happened once, and that it was for a trip to Buckingham Palace, a decidedly uncommon occurrence, so we commoners need not relate to her outfit.

The reactions to Ford’s non-comments may be funny, but they’re also a depressing example of how fake news and confirmation bias inform our lives. Trump detractors wanted to laugh at a petty insult (even, or maybe especially, one rooted in sexist power dynamics) at the expense of the Trump family/administration. Trump supporters wanted to condemn an elitist snob, despite the fact that they voted to put a (purported) millionaire reality TV star in the White House. But it plays into their totally false “party of the people” narrative.

Absolutely no shade to #WalmartLife, but eternal shade to #VotingPartiesIntoPowerWhoOnlyCareAboutTaxBreaksForTheWealthyLife.

Once again, I suppose the best and maybe only lesson here is to Google something before you post or retweet a screencap of a headline and nothing more.

(image: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.