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Dolce & Gabbana apologize for racist ad, just in time for the holidays

(MARKETING) Dolce & Gabbana stepped in it, and are apologizing, but many aren’t in the mood to accept their words.

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Mere hours before the models were set to walk down the runway, Dolce & Gabbana cancelled their “Great Show” in Shanghai amidst a fervent backlash against racist marketing for the show. Several models and celebrities had threatened to boycott the show, forcing its cancellation.

The show was called a “Tribute to China,” and, according to brand founder Domenico Dolce, was supposedly “created especially with love and passion for China.” Unfortunately, Chinese critics weren’t feeling the love.

The backlash arose from a video ad, called “Eating with Chopsticks” that was posted on Dolce & Gabbana’s Instagram. The video, which has since been removed, featured a Chinese model using chopsticks to eat Italian foods such as pizza and spaghetti. Critics say that the ad relied on condescending stereotypes and was disrespectful to Chinese culture.

To make matters worse, a leaked screenshot of private messages sent by Stefano Gabbana showed the designer making disparaging remarks about the critics. Gabbana claims that his account was hacked and that he did not send those messages.

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Three days after cancelling the show, Dolce and Gabbana issued a video apology via Instagram, promising that “We will never forget this experience and it will certainly never happen again.” stating “We love your culture and certainly have much to learn. That is why we are sorry if we made mistakes in the way we expressed ourselves.”

Many critics were unconvinced by the delayed apology, and are committed to boycotting D&G. A photoshopped D&G logo reading “Dead & Gone” with a poo emoji has surfaced on social media as many fashion fans believe that the outrage sparked by the racist ad will effectively kill the brand in China and other parts of Asia.

Estelle Chen, a French model of Chinese descent who has walked the runway for D&G in the past, responded directly to the designers’ apology. “You don’t love China, you love money,” she wrote. “China is rich yes but China is rich in its values its culture and its people and they won’t spend a penny on a brand that does not respect that.”

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Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Roland Estrada

    November 27, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Racist?? It sounds like an SNL skit. People need to lighten up.

    • Lani Rosales

      November 27, 2018 at 8:44 pm

      If it *were* an SNL skit, people would probably be more forgiving, but in a traditional advertising space, people are less likely to take it lightly.

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