Dolce & Gabbana Dropped by Multiple Retailers Following Racism Allegations

Muriel Colon
November 25, 2018

The designer duo behind luxury Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana have issued an apology to the Chinese in an effort to stall a growing backlash against their label after a social media campaign soured and leaked comments were deemed racist.

Cross-border e-commerce site Yangmatou said late Wednesday night that it had taken 58,000 D&G products down, saying that "the Motherland is more important than anything else".

Despite the earlier apology, the Italian fashion house's products disappeared from multiple Chinese e-commerce platforms.

Alibaba and did not respond to requests for comment.

The promotional video, under the hashtag #DGTheGreatShow and #DGLovesChina, showed a Chinese woman struggling to eat Italian dishes such as pizza and pasta with chopsticks.

The blunder was compounded when screenshots were circulated online of a private Instagram conversation, in which the designer Stefano Gabbana makes a reference to "China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia" and uses the smiling poo emoji to describe the country. The videos were published on D&G's Facebook, Weibo, Twitter and Instagram accounts. The brand said Gabbana's account had been hacked. Chinese A-list celebrities invited to the show, including Zhang Ziyi, Chen Kun, Li Bingbing and Wang Junkai, had all withdrawn from the event before D&G had even announced the cancelation.

"I am really happy Chinese people are standing up to the discrimination and as money is what these brands want the most from us, we should choose wisely who we give our money to!" said another.

"We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China", the company said.

The backlash intensified after screenshots of messages sent from co-founder Stefano Gabbana's Instagram account leaked on the platform, including a message exchange that said the videos were posted "by my will". The videos were posted on the fashion house's official Instagram account and evoked immediate outrage on Chinese social media with users launching the #BoycottDolce hashtag.

Dolce and Gabbana, sitting side-by-side in long-sleeved black shirts, their hands resting on a table, apologized in a almost 1.5-minute video posted online Friday.

Several retailers have reportedly pulled the brand from their stores and websites in China and Hong Kong.

Aside from the controversy, D&G's Chinese joint venture in Shanghai was punished and fined more than 400,000 yuan (US$57,650) in total by the local government twice between 2016 and 2017, as it sold fake, inferior-quality and unqualified products.

ALSO READ: Is Dolce & Gabbana actually booting out co-founder Stefano? .

Referring to the cancelled show, he said many models, manufacturers and publicists from around the world worked hard on it but it was now a "wasted effort". "Chinese have always welcomed foreign companies, but that doesn't mean it is without a bottom line - respect is a prerequisite for businesses deals", the newspaper said on its Weibo account.

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