Contestants and judges alike gasped audibly on the latest episode of “Project Runway” when one of the show’s contestants made a pointed joke about host Karlie Kloss’ family connection to Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner — and was soon eliminated from the fashion design competition.
In the episode, which aired Thursday, contestants were asked to design an outfit for Kloss to wear at a charity event in Paris using only materials from a Goodwill store. Contestant Tyler Neasloney’s submission didn’t go over so well with judges — nor did his response to their questions.
Kloss asked Neasloney about the outfit he designed, which he said was “going for a very traditional like Montauk, Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, Americana vibe.”
Designer and judge Brandon Maxwell then noted that the challenge at hand was for contestants to design something that is “Super cool, A. Wearable, B. Chic, C. You got B. You got wearable. It’s definitely wearable in some place that is neither Paris nor Montauk or Martha’s Vineyard.”
“I cannot see Karlie wearing it anywhere, honestly,” Maxwell declared.
“Not even to dinner with the Kushners?” Neasloney replied with maximum shade.
Kloss is married to Joshua Kushner, younger brother of Jared. Kloss and Joshua Kushner are both Democrats and in several interviews she has tactfully distanced herself from Jared and his wife, Ivanka Trump. “I choose to focus on the values that I share with my husband, and those are the same liberal values that I was raised with and that have guided me throughout my life,” she told British Vogue in July.
On “Project Runway,” reactions to Neasloney’s joke were not positive. His fellow contestants gasped and cringed, with one of them saying “Holy s—.” The judges meanwhile sat stone-faced, and Kloss stared blankly at Neasloney for several seconds until he awkwardly tried to salvage the situation by saying, “That’s your husband!”
Kloss didn’t respond to that, keeping things focused on Neasloney’s design. “I was going to Paris. That was your challenge here. Keep it to the challenge.”
“This is not what I asked for. The fabrics are poor choices; I think they look cheap,” Kloss continued. “The pockets are kind of ill-placed. And if this is your aesthetic then that’s that, but this was about my aesthetic and the influence of my stylist. You really missed the mark here on all counts.”
After being dressed down (sorry), Neasloney went backstage where he attempted to climb out of the hole he had dug himself. “It did not come out how I meant it,” he said. “Not how I meant it. Sorry, Karlie.”
The apology didn’t save him, however — Neasloney was eliminated from the show shortly thereafter. Before he left, he apologized again to Kloss. “Karlie, I want you to know that I’m not a jerk, I’m professional,” he said. “What I said earlier had no hidden agenda, no meaning, no nothing like that.”
Watch the video, courtesy of TooFab, above.