D&G Facing Backlash Over Racist Insults to China

Famous Italian luxury brand, Dolce & Gabbana (D&G), recently released a series of promotional videos to advertise for their upcoming fashion show in China. One of the videos depicted a Chinese model trying to eat pizza with chopsticks while making odd expressions. A male voice spoke with broken English in the background. The video was met with outrage as it was regarded as insulting Chinese culture, and was quickly deleted from Weibo afterwards.

To top it off, D&G co-founder and fashion designer, Stefano Gabbana, was caught arguing with a netizen on Instagram and criticizing China’s culture and traditions. Screencaps of their conversation were widely circulated among social media and he can be seen commenting, “I will say that the country of shit is China.”

As expected, this infuriated netizens who told D&G to “crawl” out of China. D&G later issued an official statement claiming that Stefano’s Instagram had been hacked. However, netizens are having a hard time believing this given Stefano’s track record of making outrageous comments.

Chinese Celebrities Outraged

D&G was slated to hold a large-scale fashion show tonight in Shanghai, inviting 40 Chinese celebrities to watch the fashion show among 1500 guests. But due to Stefano Gabbana’s insulting comments, many Chinese celebrities declined to attend. . This included Zhang Ziyi (章子怡), Li Bingbing (李冰冰), Huang Xiaoming (黃曉明), Dilireba (迪麗熱巴), Chen Kun (陳坤), Girls 101 (火箭少女), and Darren Wang (王大陸). Many posted comments on Weibo indicating their refusal to attend and proclaiming their love and support for their country.

Zhang Ziyi also posted that she and her team will not be buying or using any products from D&G. She also posted a meme with the caption, “Your shit fell. Here, have it back.” Feeling the wrath of China, D&G has since announced that the fashion show tonight is cancelled, losing approximately $1.4 million USD.

Dilireba and TFBoys’ Karry Wang (王俊凱) announced they will be terminating their endorsement contracts with D&G. Dilireba, who made her fashion catwalk debut with D&G last year in Milan, said, “At any time, the Motherland can’t be violated!” Karry said that mutual respect for each other’s cultural history is the most important factor in deciding which brands he works with.

Controversial D&G Ad 


Source: HK01

This article is written by Kiki for JayneStars.com.

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  1. D&G is screwed. China is arguably their most important market (who isn’t?). If it gets politically charged, D&G may be on the verge of losing millions in the short-term.

  2. This happens when the success has gone to ones head and thinks they can get away with anything. What a Prima Donna!

    1. @jimmyszeto Agree, especially that co-founder Stefano. He probably thought G&D is a big brand so, nothing can affect them. He should be careful of what he says sometimes. A lot of netizens are angry at his comments more than the video though.

  3. Yup, D&G’s prospects in China are officially over — they might as well close all their outlets in China now (last count according to other articles is that they have outlets in 25 cities across China), as there is no way they will be able to crawl back from this. The racist comments are one thing (and of course no one is going to believe the guy’s instagram was hacked, especially since he has a track record of making these types of comments — other celebrities from Selena Gomez to Elton John had run-ins with him in the past) — to me, the ads are even more offensive and no, they can’t claim those have nothing to do with their label. D&G deserves whatever punishment that is likely heading their way soon!

    1. The ‘chopsticks and pizza’, ‘chopsticks and spaghetti’ seems to be trying to dispict the cohesion of Italy and China. They were trying to imply that this brand can be a strong bond with China. However, the downfall is the lack of research into the the culture and sensitivity of the Chinese people. Although some of these stereotypes are true it was a terrible campaign to point this out. It is a horrendous error for such a big brand. Also the humour that some Asians such as myself will accept in the west will not be tolerated in China. In the west, we kind of all accept there there are light hearted racism or sometimes serious racism occasionally at a young age so we laugh it off. We have all seen rich Chinese people eating cooked western breakfasts with chopsticks or eating fruit/desserts together with main course on the same plate in buffets. We are deluded if we don’t think this is happening. The top China Stars will know this because some have these habits themselves but if they spread and work cohesively together to blacklist a brand there is no way back. Do I think most of these stars are genuinely bothered about D & G offending China? No. The clever stars with good managers will wipe their hands with this brand as soon as news come through to boost their own image with the Chinese fans. Others will also follow for the same reason. Eventually all the top stars will have to blacklist the brand and pull out of the event otherwise will receive a career ending backlash from the Chinese public. In some ways this is very similar to the Fan BingBing social media reaction. While no one would not post anything or speak out to support Fan Bing Bing to protect their own careers, this time everyone trended to blacklist this brand also to protect their careers.

      1. @jimmyszeto they could have made a more tasteful video that included a girl eating Italian food with chopsticks if their goal was showing cohesion.
        For me I think it was the condescending language that made it more offensive (and racist).
        For the pizza one “lets see how we can use these little nunchuck stick looking cutlery things to eat our grand, traditional, margherita pizza”. They could have just called them chopsticks….
        Some Chinese people are ignorant yes, but most of us are cultured and don’t need to learn how to properly eat things, we certainly don’t need to use chopsticks for everything.
        Something else that really annoys me is how the dubbing guy says Dolce and Gabbana like “Dolsss and Gub-a-nah”, why say it like that????
        Totally agree with banding together to wipe the brand out. Whoever doesn’t cut ties with the company will look like a traitor to their own country and be lambasted by the public, so better cut ties now before your image goes down with D&G

      2. @tungamy the speaking thing is how the local say it? I know for certain that I laugh (inside) when I hear common Vietnamese people pronounce high end brand, always take me a while to figure out what they say. So I’m a sense, using the local tongue makes the local get what brand it’s advertising to?

        What I would say though is they didn’t screen test the ads to the local for cultural sensitivity (which is a major mistake that a famous brand shouldn’t make)

      3. @littlefish “…using the local tongue makes the local get what brand it’s advertising to?” That is a no no. They broken English guy in the background doesn’t make it the local tongue at all. Such a big brand like D&G, how did this ad even make it? They need to do their research and get better marketing. And I believe the IG comments from that co-founder added more fuel to the fire; it’s probably what led to the outrage of netizens.

      4. @littlefish
        The biggest losers from this is obviously D & G. The biggest winners are Chen Kun and Delireba. Chen Kun for being first to act which was a very shrewd move and Delireba for cutting ties quickly when she was the country’s main endorser/ambassador. These two will pay fines for breaking contract but what they gain from other endorsements and being elevated to no1 lead status in place of the likes of Fan BingBing represents far more gain. The quick moves are all the brilliance of their management companies and not the celebrities themselves. We have to get that right! The celebrities had no right to make such a big decision to break contracts individually without the advice and expertise coming from their respective teams. In China, you have to your cards rights to make it. Anything that can upset the Govt or the public and that’s career ending. Acting is less of a priority. However in the West, you can call the Govt names everyday of the week and probably gain praise for it.Negative personal news being published will not affect the celebrities’ reputation as long as they are skilfully performing well within their roles. Unless they commit a murder or something, the public will still admire their talent and ignore the negative aspects of the celebrities’ life.

      5. @jimmyszeto It doesn’t do them any good though if they stay with the brand that disrespected their country and culture publicly. Delireba for example was an endorser for the brand, she had to terminate her contract even though she didn’t want to. I agree that many stars weren’t genuinely care, but have to blacklist the brand. They were based off from China and their fanbases are mostly Chinese. So, it makes sense.

      6. @sabrina Completely agree that it was Stephano’s comments from the DM’s that caused the whole thing to explode. The videos were already taken down from weibo, so it was the DM’s the made the racism show up the most and cause outrage to Chinese citizens. Resulting in actors/models backing out of attending and then the show being shut down by authorities.
        I don’t think it said anywhere that Reba didn’t want to terminate the contract. That night before the show was cancelled her studio already said she wasn’t going to the event, and she herself put a post with sentiments about loving your own country. After she finished a meet and greet event that night she already unfollowed D&G and the founders Weibo’s before news of contract termination came out the next day. So I think she had a voice in saying she wanted the contract terminated

      7. @tungamy I was just making an example. I meant “even if”. I was typing while having all kind of thoughts in my mind then just clicked post comment. I didn’t read through first. 😀

  4. It’s even more dumb that Stephano says something like: “these videos are a tribute to your culture, why are you getting offended?” in one of these DM chats. How were those “promotional videos” a tribute to Chinese culture? With the man dubbing over the video mispronouncing Dolce and Gabbana with something of a stereotypical Chinese accent?
    No one is going to believe you’ve been hacked, we weren’t born yesterday…
    I remember reading that the Asia Pacific region brings in about 30% of their revenues, good luck with getting that back.
    Yesterday I already saw many people posting videos of them throwing out their D&G products or cutting them up, with 汪峰’s 我爱你中国 (I love you China) playing in the background. The Chinese people have come together to push this brand out!
    Side not: kinda feel bad for Dolce, since G is the one who made things a lot worse. But also his PR firm should get fired for those three atrocious videos in the first place. They’ve been taken down on weibo, but is still up on D&G’s official Instagram account….dumb to not take it down as many people are trashing them in the comments, but also we can all see how dumb these videos are

  5. How about all asians gather together and stop purchasing unnecessary items such as these over price luxury fashions. Luxurious fashion brand’s westerners mostly discriminate asians and its asians that buys their stuff and keeps them in business the most. LV from france is very popular and alot of ppl think by using it they are more upscale. Absurd, france crime rate is extremely high and most people are poor and rude there. Wearing high fashion dont make one more upscale, just more materalistic. Upscale is having a kind heart, willing to help others and open minded, etc.

  6. D&G was also boycotted by the gay community not too long ago for verbally insulting them. Their community must be glad to see China giving them the boot.

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