D&G: China shopping sites pull products in ad backlash

D&G: China shopping sites pull products in ad backlash

D&G: China shopping sites pull products in ad backlash

Calls for a boycott against the label gained traction after a video campaign showed a Chinese model struggling to eat spaghetti with chopsticks - a depiction that was criticized as racist and insensitive - and incendiary messages purportedly from co-founder Stefano Gabbana's Instagram account went viral.

Nearly all major Chinese e-commerce sites, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Tmall and JD.com Inc., have suspended the sale of D&G products in China. As the fallout grew, Dolce&Gabbana goods were also taken off from the Chinese e-commerce platforms.

The notorious campaign was also posted to Chinese social media platform Weibo.

According to The Guardian, Chinese online retailers Kaola, Secoo and Yoox Net-A-Porter all confirmed they were no longer listing Dolce & Gabbana products on their sites, while an investigation by Reuters revealed that searchers for D&G items on Alibaba and JD.com came up with no search results.

Early Wednesday morning, in a chat on Instagram between a netizen named "michaelatranova" and someone using the personal account of Gabbana, the latter appeared to make insulting references toward China and Chinese people. Both companies didn't respond immediately to requests for comment. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" star Zhang Ziyi said she would boycott the brand. The multi million euro event, which has taken months to plan, was unceremoniously canceled after a backlash to a series of D&G ads of which users accused the Italian brand of harbouring Chinese stereotypes.

Stefano said: "We want to say to all Chinese across the world and we are taking this apology and message very seriously". "We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China".

Dolce & Gabbana co-founder Stefano Gabbana defended the advert and engaged in confrontation with an Instagram user, to whom he said "China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia".

Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce
Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce

The campaign triggered a huge debate on Chinese social media on whether D&G intentionally stereotyped China by choosing outdated street views as a background instead of advanced modern areas such as the financial district in the city. In April a year ago D&G offended the Chinese after an advertising campaign shot in Beijing featured only run-down and old neighbourhoods, eschewing the modern landscape the city is keen to promote.

However, the crisis for Dolce & Gabbana showed no sign of easing on Friday.

Dolce told The Associated Press in an email interview before the controversy erupted that the designers had planned an "homage to China, to celebrate the country, and at the same time, to tell our story and love for fashion".

Dolce & Gabbana's blunder is not only awkward, it's expensive.

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

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".

"China has always been friendly to foreign businesses".

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