Lady Gaga's latest looks are causing quite a controversy -- but not for the reasons one might think.
Animal rights organization PETA has openly criticized the "Born This Way" singer, 26, after she was photographed wearing a series of fur jackets in recent weeks. In a statement released on PETA's website, VP Dan Matthews accused the pop star of being a hypocrite.
"Many of your gay fans, I among them, have long admired what you told Ellen [DeGeneres]: 'I hate fur and I don't wear fur.' I included a link because these recent photos of you in fox and rabbit and with a wolf carcass make it appear that you have amnesia," he wrote. "What happened? Are your stylists telling you that it's fake, or are you a turncoat?"
Matthews went on to tell Gaga (real name: Stefani Germanotta) that by wearing fur, she's making herself "a target, just like the mindless Kim Kardashian." (The E! reality star, 31, was flour bombed on the red carpet by a PETA supporter in March. Ever the professional, Kardashian quickly brushed herself off and resumed doing interviews.)
Gaga first responded to Matthews' open letter via Twitter August 13. "For those press and such who are writing about whether or not my fur is actually real, please don't forget to credit the designer Hermes," she wrote. "Thank you!"
As the criticism became impossible to ignore, Gaga explained her decision to wear fur in an in-depth message posted on her Little Monsters website.
"To the fans, I want you to know that I care deeply about your feelings and views, and I will always support your philosophies about life. We've been having over-arching conversations about society, equality and politics for the past five years, and we should continue," she wrote August 16. "I do not however support violent, abusive, and childish campaigns for any cause."
"I am choosing not to comment on whether or not the furs I purchase are faux fur-pile or real because I would think it [hypocritical] not to acknowledge the python, ostrich, cow hide, leather, lamb, alligator, 'Kermit' and not to mention meat, that I have already worn," she continued. "This should already put me in a category as one who appreciates and adores the beauty of animals in fashion, but am not a strict vegan."
"I have truly always stayed away from skinned fur, especially [because] I have never been able to afford a nice one, but this does not mean my morals are rigid and that I won't bend at the sight of an absolute art piece of a coat. I have no chains about this," she wrote. "You see a carcass, I see a museum piece de resistance. But I am truly sorry to fans who are upset by this; it's a fair and applaudable feeling about the health and safety of animals. I respect your views, please respect mine."
Gaga also rallied around Kardashian and warned PETA supporters not to ambush her in public. "To campaigners, save your flour to make bread for the children who are hungry. And Kim Kardashian is fabulous."
The singer's new album, ARTPOP, is slated for release in early 2013.