Dolce&Gabbana goods pulled in China over alleged insults

Dolce&Gabbana goods pulled in China over alleged insults

Dolce&Gabbana goods pulled in China over alleged insults

A major fashion show in Shanghai was cancelled, e-commerce platforms like Alibaba and JD.com took down numerous company's pages, and fashionistas around the world were appalled. Reports claimed that Koala, Yoox Net-a-Porter, Tmall, and JD.com removed listings of the controversial brand.

The controversy erupted earlier this week when a series of ads released by the luxury brand to promote a Shanghai fashion featured a Chinese woman struggling to eat spaghetti and pizza with chopsticks.

The controversy compounded when screenshots of Stefano Gabbana's private Instagram insulted China calling it "China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia" and used the poop emoji to describe the country.

A duty-free shop at the Haikou Meilan airport on China's Hainan island posted a photo of empty shelves on its social media account, saying that it had pulled all Dolce&Gabbana products.

China's Kaola, an e-commerce platform belonging to China's NetEase Inc confirmed it had removed Dolce & Gabbana products while luxury goods retailer Secoo said it removed the brand's listings on Wednesday evening.

The scandal intensified after degrading remarks about Chinese people were sent from co-owner Stefano Gabbana's Instagram account.

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Anger over the ads was also widely felt in the Chinese Twitter-like platform Weibo, with celebrities such as "Memoirs of a Geisha" movie star Zhang Ziyi, posting critical comments about the brand, according to Reuters.

But the backlash continued as retailers in China retreated from the brand. "We also want to apologize to all of the many Chinese people throughout the world".

Multinationals often stumble over cultural barriers because their Chinese offices usually take orders from their global headquarters, which can lead to mishaps in their marketing campaigns, wrote Li Guowei, who worked as China communication chief at General Electric Co. for 15 years, in a commentary (link in Chinese) published by Caixin Thursday. "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".

A message from Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana has since been posted to the Dolce & Gabbana Instagram account, stating that the days events were "very unfortunate", and that they expressed gratitude for their friends and guests. Many Chinese social media users called the videos, which have since been deleted, racist and full of outdated stereotypes. "And we must try harder to understand and respect Chinese culture".

Diet Prada followed this post with the messages between Gabbana and Travona in which the designer first appears to defend the campaign before making derogatory comments about China and Chinese people.

An analyst said the bad publicity will have a lasting effect. He went on: "We have always been in love with China".

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