D&G founders in mea culpa, public skeptical
Italian fashion house Dolce and Gabbana (D&G) apologized Friday via all its social media accounts after the brand faced a large-scale backlash in China over accusations of racism in promotional materials ahead of a fashion show in Shanghai.
“We offer our sincerest apologies to Chinese people worldwide… We hope our misunderstanding of Chinese culture can be forgiven,” the two founders of the brand, Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce said in a video posted on social media with Chinese and English subtitles.
The apology video was first uploaded on its Weibo account and it was released on its official Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts about three hours later.
Dolce said: “We’ve always been very crazy about China, we’ve visited it a lot. We’ve been to many cities. We love your culture.” The pair said the single word “sorry” in Chinese at the end of the video.
The incident stems from a promotional campaign called “Eating with Chopsticks” in which a woman eats Italian food with chopsticks. However, the subtitle described chopsticks as “stick-shaped cutlery.”
According to a survey conducted by the Global Times Global Poll Center on Friday, over half of interviewees said the advert was “deliberate cultural distortion” and about 31 percent thought it represented D&G’s “cultural superiority.”
Of the more than 9,000 respondents, over 90 percent did not think Chinese neti- zens’ reaction over the incident was radical.
On Wednesday, in an Instagram chat conversation leaked online, Gabbana had allegedly said “the country of shit is China” and “China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia.” After Chinese celebrities withdrew from the runway show that was scheduled in Shanghai on Wednesday, Gabbana claimed his account had been hacked.
However, the survey showed that 93.6 percent of interviewees did not accept his excuse at all and said it was a “coverup.”
More than 98 percent agreed that the reputation of a brand not only represents their morality and philosophy, but also their respect toward crosscultural issues.