From an elevator fight to the smoking saga: The most controversial moments from the Met Gala.

What was once solely a fundraiser for the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute, the first Monday in May has evolved into one of the biggest events on Hollywood's social calendar. 

There is months of preparation, an exclusive guest list vetted by Anna Wintour and, of course, after-parties to follow. 

But that doesn't mean the night isn't without controversy

From Elevatorgate to the Marilyn Monroe dress fiasco, here we look back at some of the most controversial Met Gala moments (so far).

But first, watch: the wildest Met Gala looks of all time. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia.

Elevatorgate: Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Solange.

At the 2014 Met Gala, there was one story that made headlines everywhere.

Surveillance footage from the night was leaked, showing an altercation between Beyoncé's sister Solange and Jay-Z in an elevator. The footage showed Solange repeatedly lunging at Jay-Z. Beyoncé stood aside and watched the altercation, before eventually stepping in between the two. 

Solange didn't face any charges over the matter.

The family soon after released a statement, saying Jay-Z and Solange had "worked through it".


Listen to this story being unpacked on Mamamia's Lowbrow. Post continues after audio.

"Jay and Solange each assume their share of responsibility for what has occurred. They both acknowledge their role in this private matter that has played out in the public. They both have apologised to each other and we have moved forward as a united family," the statement read.

They never confirmed what caused the elevator fight, but numerous reports suggest it was focused on Jay-Z's infidelity. Only two years later did we get our hands on the iconic Lemonade album, which further alluded to Jay-Z's infidelity in his marriage to Beyonce.

Jay-Z said in a 2017 interview that the incident was far in the past for the family.

"We've always had a great relationship... We had one disagreement ever. Before and after, we've been cool. She's like my sister. I will protect her. That's my sister, not my sister-in-law. My sister. Period."

The smoking in the bathrooms saga.

In 2017, there were a series of selfies taken in the Met Gala bathrooms that certainly would have pissed off Anna Wintour — as selfies and phones are strictly forbidden from the event. 

Kylie Jenner posted an iconic bathroom pic of herself along with a bunch of additional celebrities, including Frank Ocean, Brie Larson, Lily Aldridge, Kim Kardashian, Paris Jackson and more. 

But there were a bunch of other photos that some felt pushed the mark.


Fifty Shades of Grey star Dakota Johnson featured on Rita Ora's Snapchat smoking a cigarette in the bathroom, although both the area near Central Park, and the museum itself, has banned smoking since 2003.

Another image of Bella Hadid, model Lara Stone, Paris Jackson, and Ruby Rose showed Hadid puffing out a cloud of smoke while the others sat on the bathroom floor.

Image: Snapchat/Instagram.

Other guests pictured smoking include Marc Jacobs, Courtney Love, her daughter Frances Bean Cobain, and actor Rami Malek.


The response from the general public wasn't exactly glowing, with even the New York health department weighing in.

Dr Mary Bassett, New York City's health commissioner, wrote that the government body was "dismayed to read reports that some celebrities chose smoking as their fashion accessory and flagrantly violated New York City’s smoking laws."

And a donor to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Met Gala said to the New York Post: "I was so insulted to see all these 'celebrities' smoking and taking selfies in the bathroom. Mostly, it's disrespectful to the art collection, which needs to be kept 100% smoke-free. I would honestly like to see these people fined by the city."

The 'Catholic Imagination' theme in 2018.

For the 2018 Met Gala, the theme was 'Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and The Catholic Imagination'.

And for commentators, the theme considered to be a little on the nose. At the time, there had been a reckoning associated with the Catholic Church over allegations of widespread child sexual abuse misconduct and cover-ups.

So the fact the Met Gala had championed the fashion influence of the church at such a time, didn't go down well. And Catholics themselves were upset, suggesting the theme involved celebrities sexualising, commodifying and undermining the Catholic religion and church.

Image: Getty.


Demi Lovato left the Met Gala early due to the event being "cliquey".

After Demi Lovato attended the 2016 Met Gala, they told Billboard they met one celebrity who "was a complete bitch and was miserable to be around. It was very cliquey".

Lovato soon exited the event, saying the unnamed celebrity caused them to leave and head straight to an AA meeting, as the desire to drink was overwhelming due to anxiety.

"I related more to the homeless people in [my AA meetings] who struggled with the same struggles that I deal with than the people at the Met Gala—fake and sucking the fashion industry's d**k," they said.

At the time of the Met Gala, Lovato had Instagrammed a photo of Minaj giving her side-eye, with the caption: "This picture pretty much summed up my first and probably last met #cool #sof*ckingawkward #notforme #sweatpants #forensicfiles #whatsgood."


Designer Jeremy Scott, also in the image, had dressed both Minaj and Lovato for the event, posing for a photo opportunity. Minaj later posted a photo of the three of them to Instagram too, but only tagged Scott.

It comes after a 'Hollywood handler' (a person who handles... Hollywood people?) told Page Six the event is the "Mean Girls" of galas.

Image: Instagram/Getty.


Kim Kardashian's Marilyn Monroe dress.

Last but certainly not least, we cannot forget Kim Kardashian's Marilyn Monroe dress.

In 2022, Kardashian wore the dress Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang Happy Birthday to JFK in 1962.

On the red carpet, Kardashian then infamously said the dress didn't fit her when she initially tried it on, so she had to adhere to a super strict diet for three weeks. And then she spoke in further detail about the extreme weight loss.

Image: Getty.


There was a wave of criticism following the comments. Some of the controversy focused on the fact the Monroe dress is a historical artefact, which was stretched and lost beading during the night's events.

But most of the conversations stemmed around the promotion of disordered eating and weight loss, with fellow celebrity Lili Reinhart condemning Kardashian.

"The ignorance is other-worldly and disgusting," she said via her Instagram stories. "Please stop supporting these stupid, harmful celebrities whose entire image revolves around their bodies. To openly admit to starving yourself for the sake of the Met Gala. When you know very well that millions of young men and women are looking up to you and listening to your every word."

The 2023 Karl Lagerfeld theme.

The theme for the 2023 Met Gala was Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty. The event paid tribute to the longtime creative director of Chanel following his passing in 2019.

Many attendees decided to dress very literally dressed AS Karl Lagerfeld himself, while others chose to go as his cat, Choupette. 

See? Image: Getty.


The theme was controversial as Lagerfeld had actively and publicly defended the practice of hiring rail-thin models to walk in shows and pose for campaigns throughout his life. As he said: "No one wants to see curvy women."

And who could forget the book The World According to Karl — a collection of Lagerfeld's own words — where he said: "I think that for both women and men, fashion is the healthiest motivation for losing weight."


Feature Image: Getty/Instagram.

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