Some critics have blasted Kate Upton’s latest brand collaboration as tone-deaf after the model shared an Instagram post simultaneously promoting a polar bear conservation group and divisive retailer Canada Goose.
“Happy #WorldKindnessDay! It’s so important to be kind to the world around us not just today, but every day,” the model wrote to her 6.1 million followers on Wednesday, captioning a smiling selfie with husband Justin Verlander. “I’m proud to partner with Canada Goose and PBI [Polar Bears International] to help raise awareness and ensure a future for Polar Bears.”
“I recently had the honor of visiting the new PBI House to learn about polar bears, polar bear research, and the role each of us plays in polar bear conservation,” she went on, thanking both brands for their efforts “to make this world a better place.”
In the snowy photo, Upton is seen keeping warm in a blue coat with a PBI ambassador patch and black beanie, standing beside her MLB player beau, who was pictured in a black turtleneck and hat with a Canada Goose logo.
Commenters, however, had strong feelings about the bombshell’s collaboration with the retailer, which has been at the center of controversy for its use of real fur and down in its pricey parkas, with some selling for over $1,000.
“World kindness day and you partner with a company that takes the feathers off a duck to fill their coats! Think about it and look at their goose farms,” one user wrote.
“Can't get behind you on this Kate Upton. Canada Goose may be providing help to the polar bears, but they kill other local animals to create the jackets you are promoting!” another echoed.
“Come on. How can Canada Goose be kind when they kill foxes for the fur and torture (yes, torture) ducks for the down? Appreciate your effort to be kind, but this is disingenuous,” one alleged.
Many of Canada Goose’s designer duds feature real fur and down – with the ethics of the sourcing long questioned by organizations like PETA. The brand, however, claims that it ethically traps coyotes (the fur of which lines some of the jacket’s hoods) in accordance with Canada's Agreement of International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) and the Best Management Practices in the US, Newsweek reports.
Notably, however, some of the traps allowed under AIHTS are banned in other nations, including the entirety of the EU. In America, the laws regulating fur-trapping vary state to state.
As for the goose down used to fill the coat’s interiors, Canada Goose says they exclusively work with Hutterite down, with feathers sustainably sourced as by-products from the meat industry, per Newsweek.
“We believe all animals are entitled to humane treatment in life and death, and we are deeply committed to the ethical sourcing and responsible use of all animal materials in our products,” the brand’s fur and down policy reads. “We do not condone any willful mistreatment, neglect, or acts that maliciously cause animals undue suffering. Our standards for the sourcing and use of fur, down and wool reflect our commitment that materials are sourced from animals that are not subject to willful mistreatment or undue harm.”
A spokesperson for Canada Goose was not immediately available to offer further comment on the backlash surrounding Upton’s partnership with the company.
It wouldn’t be the first time, however, that the 27-year-old model has made headlines for wearing Canada Goose.
The blonde beauty famously bared all in a white, fur-trimmed Canada Goose jacket for the cover of Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition in 2013, which fur experts say sparked a fashion frenzy for the cold-weather coats, according to the Chicago Tribune.
In the years since, demand for Canada Goose designs has only gained steam.
On Nov. 13, Canada Goose Holdings Inc. reported a fiscal second-quarter net income of $45.9 million, in results that topped Wall Street expectations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.