Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! slammed claims that Kim Kardashian “in any way” damaged Marilyn Monroe’s iconic dress after a collector said the gown was “significantly damaged” after the reality star wore it to the 2022 Met Gala.
In a statement posted Thursday on its website, Ripley’s said during the brief time “The Kardashians” star borrowed the dress to wear on the red carpet in May, great care was taken and that she “did not, in any way, damage the garment.” Monroe famously wore the dress when she sang “Happy Birthday” to former President John F. Kennedy in 1962.
“Our mission is to both entertain and educate visitors and fans, and sparking conversations like the discourse around Marilyn Monroe’s dress does just that,” the statement read. “No matter which side of the debate you are on, the historical importance of the dress has not been negated, but rather highlighted. An entirely new group of young people have now been introduced to the legacy of Marilyn Monroe.”
“Kim Kardashian wearing the ‘Happy Birthday’ dress has been hotly contested, but the fact remains that she did not, in any way, damage the garment in the short amount of time it was worn at the Met Gala,” the statement added.
“From the bottom of the Met steps, where Kim got into the dress, to the top where it was returned, the dress was in the same condition it started in,” Ripley’s VP of Publishing and Licensing, Amanda Joiner, noted.
The statement shared a report in 2017 on the dress that it said noted “a number of the seams are pulled and worn. This is not surprising given how delicate the material is. There is puckering at the back by the hooks and eyes,” among other examples of damage.
Earlier in the week, Collector Scott Fortner called the decision by Ripley’s to allow the reality star to wear it “irresponsible” and showed what he said was proof that the dress was “significantly damaged” and is “irreparable,” as The Daily Wire previously reported.
“I do feel that it [was] irresponsible, this is not just a dress,” Fortner explained. “This is a cultural icon. It’s a political icon. It’s a Hollywood icon. It’s part of American history from an event that happened 60 years ago and … it should have been archived and preserved and taken care of.”
Fortner, who is the curator of the world’s largest private collection of Monroe’s personal property and archives, shared several before and after photos on his Instagram of the sparkling, sleeveless form-fitted gown embellished with thousands of crystals, noting how after the reality star wore the dress, it was now “missing crystals” with some “left hanging by a thread.”
The collector said he wasn’t upset with Kardashian for wearing it, but with Ripley’s for loaning out a piece of Hollywood history. After Ripley’s released the statement Thursday, Fortner once again took to his social media and disputed the claim that the dress was not in great shape in 2017.
“Let’s look at before/after photos, taken 52 days apart,” the collector’s post read. “These are screenshots from Ripley’s IG from May 2, and this fitting occurred on 4/21. The right photo was taken by @1morrisette on 6/12. By my count, there are seven crystals missing from the gown in the after photo, which were present during the fitting. The screenshots show only a portion of the dress. There are likely many more missing.”