Having spectacularly failed with attempts at damage limitation in the wake of a tone-deaf promotional campaign, Dolce & Gabbana continues to be the subject of online ire in China. In case you’ve somehow missed the furore, here’s how things kicked off:
Dolce & Gabbana Sparks Cries of Racism with Controversial Ad Campaign
As the story snowballed, the Shanghai show the ads were supposed to be promoting was promptly cancelled, models involved took to social media to distance themselves, and D&G issued a non-apology:
That was all yesterday. Today (China time), Stefano Gabbana reposted this to his Instagram stories (a platform technically blocked in China):
The old “we cant be racist, some of our best models are Asian” argument
But it’s going to take more than reposting someone’s Instagram story to quieten down this particular storm. As commentators have speculated just how much impact this affair will have on D&G sales in China, it’s emerged that a number of major Chinese retailers have removed the brand’s products from their online shelves:
Meanwhile Weibo users are falling over themselves to slam the brand, though some have taken to lampooning the “outrage” by criticizing unrelated companies such as ice cream chain Dairy Queen (aka DQ) and cosmetics conglomerate Procter & Gamble (P&G), in echoes of a phenomenon known as 躺枪 tangqiang (getting shot while lying down) in Chinese internet slang. DQ for its part has run with the joke:
Dairy Queen on Weibo: “To be clear, we have no plans to undertake a catwalk show. But you can eat delicious ice cream until your bellies are fat”
Whether it’s faux or genuine outrage you’re after, Weibo currently has plenty of fodder, with several of the platform’s “hot search” terms related to the scandal (including one slightly odd tangent about how Ariana Grande has stopped following D&G on her social media accounts; perhaps she needs some good China press after her manager’s Kris Wu comments).
Even more bizarrely, possibly the most on-point bit of trolling/opportunism has come from State broadcaster CCTV. That’s not a name traditionally associated with enlightened views on racism, but in this case they were quick to take to social media with a short film entitled “Do you really understand chopsticks?”
Update: The ripostes are coming thick and fast now, but a couple of the more notable ones include still-shunned rapper PG One’s track ‘Not Me’:
And of course, there’s a mini-diss track from red rap crew CD Rev (who you might remember were quick to weigh in on the Swedish hotel debacle). You can listen to the group sound off on D&G here.
Update, Friday 23 November: D&G have finally, finally issued a proper apology, in which the founders also profess their love for China and Chinese culture:
The founders of the Italian fashion brand D&G issue the apology statement video. pic.twitter.com/dIYYVYKvO9— China Daily (@ChinaDaily) November 23, 2018
The founders of the Italian fashion brand D&G issue the apology statement video. pic.twitter.com/dIYYVYKvO9
— China Daily (@ChinaDaily) November 23, 2018
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