Louis Vuitton Menswear Artistic Director Abloh Speaks Out About Michael Jackson-Inspired Collection

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A model, fashion detail, walks the runway during the finale of the Louis Vuitton Menswear Fall/Winter 2019-2020 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on Jan. 17, 2019 in Paris.

Virgil Abloh condemns child abuse and addresses "Leaving Neverland" allegations against the late pop star, who inspired his fall 2019 menswear line.

French fashion house Louis Vuitton made headlines last year for ushering in a new era of inclusivity when they appointed Virgil Abloh as artistic director of its menswear line — the luxury label's first African-American creative head. But Abloh's fall-winter 2019 collection (shown in January in Paris) was an homage to Michael Jackson, whose sexual abuse allegations have resurfaced due to the January release of the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland — inspiring negative reactions that the company addressed Thursday (March 14) in a statement.

The fashion show featured a runway mimicking the New York sidewalk seen in Jackson’s "Billie Jean" video as well as pieces that were designed to evoke his likeness and signature style (from military buttons to shirts dusted with crystals), flag prints that nodded to his 1985 charitable "We Are the World" single and prints featuring Jackson's scarecrow plus other characters from the 1978 film The Wiz

“The documentary Leaving Neverland featuring two men who allege they were sexually abused as children by Michael Jackson has caused us the greatest pain," said the statement. “It is important to mention that we were unaware of this documentary at the time of the last LV FW19 Men’s Show."

“My intention for this show was to refer to Michael Jackson as a pop culture artist. It referred only to his public life that we all know and to his legacy that has influenced a whole generation of artists and designers," said Abloh. "I am aware that, in light of this documentary, the show has caused emotional reactions. I strictly condemn any form of child abuse, violence or infringement against any human rights.”

Abloh’s stance was further supported by Michael Burke, chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton: “We find the allegations in the documentary deeply troubling and disturbing. Child safety and welfare is of utmost importance to Louis Vuitton. We are fully committed to advocating this cause.”

Since the release of Leaving Neverland, there has been an array of reactions, from protests such as Drake’s reported removal of the song "Don’t Matter to Me" from his tour (which features Jackson) to support by fans speaking out in defense of their idol on social media.

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.