No, Tom Ford Didn’t Call Melania Trump a ‘Glorified Escort’ with ‘Bad Taste in Men’ — but a Viral Tweet Claimed Otherwise

Tom Ford is speaking out after social media users went viral this week incorrectly claiming he called the first lady, Melania Trump, a “glorified escort” in a TV interview several years ago. “This is an absolutely fabricated and completely fake quote that somehow went viral,” a spokeswoman wrote Tuesday on Ford’s official Twitter account. “Mr. Ford did not make this statement; it is completely false.” Ford was for a time a trending topic on Twitter and the confusion over the alleged statement was highlighted in Twitter’s curated “moments” section, which spotlights news of the day. According to the Washington Post, it appears to trace back to a Monday tweet from a user who wrote, “Tom Ford refuses to dress Melania Trump: ‘I have no interest in dressing a glorified escort who steals speeches and has bad taste in men.’ ” The original tweet was shared some 3,000 times, the Post reports. The user has since apologized for their post and said they were confused by a screenshot of an article from the British tabloid the Daily Mail. However, as noted by the author of the article question, that screenshot was faked — an easy and common tactic on social media to gin up outrage. “It wasn’t intentionally , please accept my apologies once again,” the user behind the false Ford tweet wrote Tuesday afternoon. Ford, who is the incoming chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, has said he would not dress the first lady — but that was because he felt his clothing was not accessible enough to be worn in the White House, he said on The View in November 2016, which (confusingly) formed the basis of the false Daily Mail screenshot that lead to this week’s debunked tweet. Ford also told Elle the following January: “I think that whoever is the president, or the first lady, should be wearing clothes at a price point that are accessible to most Americans, and wearing clothes made in America. My clothes are made in Italy, they’re very, very expensive. I don’t think most women or men in our country can relate to that, and I think the first lady or the president should represent all people.” Mrs. Trump has said she’s had trouble getting designers to dress her since her husband became a politician. A source told PEOPLE much the same in 2016: “This has already been going on for months. Designers wouldn’t lend to Melania, Ivanka or Tiffany, so they either bought the items themselves or wore Ivanka’s brand.” After Karl Lagerfeld died in February, the first lady remembered him for working with her when others did not, many of whom cited political objections. “Today the world lost a creative genius,” Mrs. Trump wrote on Twitter. “We will miss you Karl!”