Calvin Klein, Mosh


In an unusually controversial Calvin Klein campaign made to look like child pornography, youth are asked revealing questions by an unseen man from behind the camera.

The male interviewer says, "Go ahead, show me what you can do." The kid, probably the youngest in this campaign, says he's not sure what he should do. The man asks, "What do you do when you just stand around and you hear a good song on the radio?" He answers that he moshes -- a form of punk dancing -- which he's asked to perform and the lanky kid does, shirtless and without any music.

While the other ads in the campaign included women, a number of boys were also asked by the man to remove clothing, perform and answer probing questions as well. Some of the young men are uncomfortable while others appear to be street-savvy. While research shows that pedophilia is more often perpetrated by men who identify as heterosexual, these ads appear to support the myth that gay men seek to molest young boys -- especially if a viewer doesn't see the interviews with young women.

Of course, fashion advertising is usually about sex, but Klein has many times created media storms over his ads. This campaign may have taken the title since President Clinton even derided the effort -- when he had his own better moral standing. Klein not only relented in response, he even issued a statement of apology.

Amazingly, the Justice Department was convinced to conduct an investigation to see if the models were "under age." This is ludicrous, since there is no age limit to being a model or actor -- the age investigation implied that the ads were actually pornographic.

Nonetheless, such advertising efforts are disingenuous, since their intent is to incite publicity, and are not unusual from fashion advertisers with small media budgets such as Klein, Diesel and Benetton.

User Comments
This ad just makes me feel uneasy -- the guy talking sounds like an old pervert and the models are way too young for this kind of talk.

Jon Eland
Do we simply associate these ads with pedophilia [i]because[/i] of the current media interest in the subject? In the past, would we not have simply thought of them as being part of a social study?