Over the last weekend, luxury fashion house Dolce & Gabbana came under fire after posting a series of racist ads portraying a Chinese model being told on how to use chopsticks. The ads were supposed to serve as tributes to China, but the videos backfired for its racist portrayal of Chinese culture and its people.
The videos were posted ahead of D&C “The Great Show” fashion event in Shanghai was it got cancelled yesterday following the backlash. The event was slated to be the brand’s biggest fashion show in 33 years, and it included 140 performers, a 1-hour ode to China, and a 1,400-person audience of celebrities and influencers, as reported by Vogue.
The social media backlash intensified when screenshots of private messages allegedly sent by D&G co-founder, Stefano Gabbana to fashion writer Michaela Phuong were shared on the Instagram account Diet Prada, an Instagram account that airs the fashion industry’s dirty laundry.
The screenshots show a conversation argument between Gabbana and Phuong where Gabbana was defending the campaign and making racist comments about China. Some harsh words were used and it didn’t sit well with many.
Following all the drama, several huge Chinese celebrities and personalities have decided to boycott the fashion event and the fashion brand entirely. The stars include Zhang Ziyi (章子怡), Li Bingbing (李冰冰), Cheney Chen (陈学冬), Chen Kun (陈坤), Huang Xiaoming (黄晓明), Darren Wang (王大陸), Tang Yixin (唐艺昕), Qi Wei (戚薇), and also the company’s long-time Asia brand ambassadors Dilraba (迪丽热巴), Wang Junkai (王俊凯).
Meanwhile, Gabbana claimed via Instagram that his Instagram account was “hacked” and that Dolce & Gabbana’s legal team was currently investigating the matter. Dolce & Gabbana also claimed that it had been hacked and the company apologised for any “distress” caused by the posts.
Many Chinese models have taken to the internet to post photos of themselves overlayed with the words “Not Me” in red, sarcastically mirroring Gabbana’s own post in which he claimed that he didn’t write the comments and that his Instagram had been “hacked”.
It has been reported that the Chinese models at the fashion show were the first to boycott, as they collectively walked out of the show’s venue.
— Rita Zhou (@RitaZhou17) November 21, 2018
It was also reported that some of the biggest shopping websites in China have taken down Dolce & Gabbana products from their portals. Some of the sites include Alibaba’s Tmall, Yangmatou, JD.com and NetEase’s Kaola.
UPDATE (23rd November):
Founders of luxury fashion brand Dolce & Gabbana, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have formally issued a video apology on Weibo today.
See the full translation of the apology.
Full translation of @dolcegabbana’s apology on Weibo.
C-netz remark that they’re not accepting it
1. This was only posted on Weibo
2. The videos in question are still on Twitter and Instagram
They state that there’s no need for an apology, they’ll just continue to boycott pic.twitter.com/Kgs7pFdi0W
— c-drama tweets (@dramapotatoe) November 23, 2018
However, many Chinese netizens are still not buying it as the brand only issued the apology on Weibo but not on the other social media platforms. Also, Dolce & Gabbana still hasn’t remove the racial ads from its Instagram and Twitter.
In conclusion, Chinese netizens are still adamant about boycotting the brand.