"We are saddened that activists have repeatedly tried to distort a lighthearted holiday project in order to draw media attention to themselves," Disney and Barneys said in a joint statement to the News.
"They have deliberately ignored previously released information clearly stating this promotion is a three-minute ‘moving art’ video featuring traditional Minnie Mouse in a dreamlike sequence set in Paris where she briefly walks the runway as a model and then happily awakens as her normal self wearing the very same designer dress from the fashion show."
Barneys maintains that the skinny mouse only appears briefly in a dream sequence within the store's "Electric Holiday" campaign that features a 3-D light show and short film.
But plus-sized model Lizzie Miller was appalled.
"People may think it's blowing it out of proportion, but where does it stop?" asked Miller. "This is a big step backwards."
Miller has appeared in ads for Kohl's, Target, Macy's, Avon and Lane Bryant, in addition to working for Italian designers Elena Miro and Marina Rinaldi. Miller shot to fame in September 2009 after Glamour magazine ran a photo of the curvy beauty as part of a piece on women who are comfortable with their bodies.
To be honest, I've always found Minnie fine as she was," added Wilhelmina Models' Robyn Lawley, the first plus-size model used for Ralph Lauren advertising.