Diesel Is Dead,” someone hate-commented to the iconic denim brand recently. Normally we don’t condone comment-stealing, but this one is hardly cutting-edge, and Diesel’s decision to make bank by slapping it across a jacket is kind of a genius move. Whoever commented “Diesel is overpriced shit” probably wouldn’t agree, especially since that version costs $400. It’s part of the Italian denim brand’s new campaign targeting online hate. Dubbed “Hate Couture,” the ads feature an all-star lineup of artists, activists, and problematic faves: including Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane, Bella Thorne, Barbie Ferreira, Bria Vinaite, and Tommy Dorfman. And possibly but probably not Charlie Sheen, who inexplicably posted a photo of himself in a #STILLWINNING long-sleeve while omitting the #ad tag.
Every campaign star was asked to submit a few of the hurtful comments they’ve had hurled at them on social media, and Diesel turned those comments in custom pieces. Body-positive badass Barbie wears a “FAT” shirt, “unapologetically queer” actor Tommy in a “FAGGOT” sweater, and divisive rap queen Nicki a jacket emblazoned with “THE BAD GUY.” “The more we care and feed into online hate, the more it will come,” wrote Barbie in a sponsored yet heartfelt message on her Instagram. “Embrace your flaws, your differences, the hate you get, and own yourself. The more hate you wear, the less you care.” Barbie has long used her platform to call for inclusivity, advocating for representation across size, gender, sexuality, (dis)ability, and race.
As people have been quick to point out, some of the ads haven’t been so compelling. Nicki has certainly been unfairly vilified at points in her career, but she has also been called out for homophobic lyrics, and recently slid into a random blogger’s DMs to criticize her looks. One person to question casting Nicki in the Diesel ads was the receiver of the DMs herself, Wanna Thompson, who branded the move “tone deaf.” Amber Rose is also rather displeased, though perhaps not at Nicki per se, as much as not being consulted herself. Amber’s SlutWalk has been targeting slut-shaming since 2011, while her crew rolled up to the 2015 VMAs wearing catsuits stamped with “SLUT” and “FAGGOT,” as seen in the photo Amber posted on Instagram today.