The Italian fashion line, Dolce and Gabbana, released an ad campaign that critics say is “disrespectful and racist.” The ad features a Chinese woman having trouble eating Italian food while using chopsticks. The backlash worsens as many offensive comments were sent through Stefano Gabbana’s personal Instagram account. This scandal could have a drastic and negative impact on the company because Chinese consumers make up more than a third on global spending in the luxury market. D&G products were taken down from many popular shopping and retail websites in China, including sites by Alibaba, JD.com and Yoox Net-A-Porter.
As a result, the co-founders apologized to “all the Chinese people around the world” through a video message posted on social media. “Our families taught us to respect all cultures of the world,” Dolce said. “We hope to receive your forgiveness for our cultural misunderstandings.” They also claimed the offensive messages sent through Gabbana’s personal Instagram account were through the result of hackers. However, the situation continues to worsen.
In response to the ad, many people posted videos of themselves burning and ripping their products and even using their clothing as rags to clean toilets. D&G stores are beginning to shut down in China, too. On the other hand, some argued that China needs to be more tolerant to attract other people and nations to their open market.