‘I was ‘naïve’: Brooke Shields slams Barbara Walters for ‘practically criminal’ interview after Calvin Klein ad

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Actress Brooke Shields strongly criticized Barbara Walters for the now-retired journalist’s “practically criminal” interview with her forty years ago.

Speaking with Dax Shepard on a recent episode of “The Armchair Expert” podcast, Shields recalled the 1981 interview and called out now 92-year-old Walters for what she sees as offensive questioning that had nothing to do with journalism.

Shields shared that she has recently been reflecting on her early career and how she was oversexualized as a young teen.

In 1980, at age 15, the young actress was featured in a Calvin Klein ad campaign modeling the brand’s jeans. One particular commercial that created national outrage shows Shields laying on the floor and asking: “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

In 1981, soon after the ad aired, Shields sat down for an interview with Walters. The actress, now 56, claimed that Walters asked her a series of offensive questions, including asking what her body measurements were.

“It’s practically criminal, it’s not journalism,” she told Shepard. The podcast host agreed, calling the long-ago interview “maddening.”

According to Fox News Digital, Walters’ representatives declined to comment.

Shepard further noted that, at the time, commentators and media sources apparently could not figure out how they wanted to define the 15-year-old or what to say about her. Some tried to paint her as oversexualized while others attempted to portray her as an innocent being taken advantage of.

“[The press] couldn’t figure out what they were trying to say about you,” Shepard sympathized. Shields agreed, noting, “They were mad at themselves for not figuring it out and taking it out on me.”

In October, Shields spoke at length with Vogue magazine about the ad campaign, admitting that she had not been prepared for the backlash. She revealed that she had been out of town when the ads first aired and was stunned to learn that Canada refused to air them and they had also been banned in the U.S.

She revealed that the entire incident, including being hounded by paparazzi and people heckling her and her mother, struck her as “ridiculous.”

“They take the one commercial, which is a rhetorical question. I was naive, I didn’t think anything of it. I didn’t think it had to do with underwear, I didn’t think it was sexual in nature,” she told the magazine in the issue released in October. “I would say it about my sister, ‘Nobody can come between me and my sister.’”

“I think the assumption is that I was much more savvy than I ever really was,” she surmised.

In the end, the campaign played a huge role in launching her modeling and acting careers and was a massive success for Calvin Klein.

“The controversy backfired. The campaign was extremely successful, and then the underwear overtook the jeans,” Shields said. “[Calvin Klein] understood how to push the envelope. It set the tone for decades.”

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