Diesel faces backlash for bringing Nicki Minaj onboard to front anti bullying campaign

Italian retailer, Diesel hired rapper Nicki Minaj to front a new anti-cyber bullying initiative and the public isn't feeling it.

Nicki Minaj thegrio.com
(Getty Images)

In a an attempt to connect more closely to today’s consumers, Italian retailer, Diesel typically recruits controversial and polarizing celebrities. This time, they’ve signed on rapper Nicki Minaj to front a new anti-cyber bullying initiative – and the public isn’t feeling it.

As part of the Autumn/Winter 2018 fashion campaign, everyone from Minaj and Gucci Mane to actors Bella Thorne, Tommy Dorfman and Yoo Ah-in plus model Jonathan Bellini, are featured. The group is taking the most hateful messages they have received on social media and applying them onto a Diesel design — as part of what the brand calls “hate couture.”

Nicki Minaj’s T-shirt is emblazoned with the words “The Bad Guy,” while Gucci Mane has “F**k You, Impostor” written on his shirt.

The limited-edition pieces will be available in Diesel stores and online, and customers will also have the opportunity to create their own customized items starting on October 6. Proceeds from the sale of the pieces will be donated in support of anti-bullying programs at Diesel’s non-profit arm, the OTB foundation.

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“We wanted to create this controversial irony with our clothes,” says Renzo Rosso, founder of Diesel and president of OTB Group, the holding company of Diesel. “It’s the way we have to communicate today. We have to do it with our lifestyle and irony.”

But people social media were quick to question the casting choices, particularly Jerome Trammel and Wanna Thompson who claim to have been personally bullied by Nicki Minaj.

Trammel alleges Minaj encouraged fans to attack him after he criticized her for ‘slut-shaming’ in an interview with Elle magazine. And after Thompson questioned the lyrics on Nicki’s 2018 album, “Queen,” she claims to have received direct messages from the rapper, who later contacted her employer and got her fired from an internship as a music journalist.

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in August, Thompson told the BBC that receiving the abusive messages from Minaj’s Twitter account was “heart breaking” as she used to be a fan of the star.

“I was flabbergasted because I thought the page was fake,” she said at the time.

“I kept on trying to refresh my twitter to see if it was a parody page. Maybe it was someone who copied everything about Nicki Minaj’s profile and they’re trying to get a rise out of me, but to my surprise, it was real.”

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Diesel brand, which was built on provocation. This type of response to an issue like bullying isn’t new to them and the company doesn’t seem to be backing down.

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Check out the responses to Diesel’s new anti-bullying campaign below.