How China’s general public perceive D&G racism row

By Lin Luwen and Huang Yiran Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/26 18:43:03

A truck removes the Dolce&Gabbana's Shanghai fashion show label on November 11. The event was canceled due to outrage over the fashion company's recent advertisement and remarks. Photo: VCG

"I was just being a decent human being," said Michaela Phuong Thanh Tranova on her Instagram, explaining that her intention when she exposed the screenshot of the racist and derogatory comments by Stefano Gabbana, co-founder of the fashion brand Dolce&Gabbana (D&G). The student and model who studies in London claimed on November 24 that the message exchanged between herself and Stanfano Gabbana was deleted without her consent and her private photos were also removed deliberately by Instagram.

The Italian fashion house has been under fire in the past week after its co-founder's comments describing China as a "shit country," which later were denied by the brand, with claims that his account was hacked.

The scandal started when a series of the brand's commercial videos were released, in which a model was using traditional Chinese chopsticks to eat Italian food clumsily. Many Chinese audiences point out that the model's facial expression was exaggerated and weird which invoked being offensive. Later, Tranova confronted Gabbana about the controversial videos and after the content of their messages got revealed, millions of people have expressed disappointment of the brand, trending topics and hashtags such as "D&G, get out of China," "D&G racism" and "D&G Not Me" have been read more than 530 million times on Sina Weibo.

After a massive backlash from China's general public, two designers of D&G posted a video, expressing contrition over the racism row, by saying "sorry" in Chinese. However, many Chinese netizens considered that it was too late to subside China's general public's fury.

Both the Chinese and expat interviewees expressed to Metropolitan disappointment and aversion against the campaign made by D&G.

"They chose a stereotypical-looking Chinese face as a model lacking refinement and culture to understand how to eat Italian food," a 24-year-old Chinese female interviewee who chose not to be named told Metropolitan.

"When we use a knife and fork, we use them as culinary utensils, and it's just normal. But this video carries a hint of innuendo and makes fun of the chopsticks," two women from China told Metropolitan.

One Chinese man described the ad to Metropolitan as being " insult of Chinese culinary culture. It's rather unacceptable."

Some expats living in China interviewed by the Metropolitan also expressed their dissatisfaction with D&G. A woman from Brazil who chose not to be named said the video is "rude."

She said, "We need to respect everyone around the world."

A male interviewee from Denmark who chose not to be named said, "If someone took something from my home country and made a video of it like this or used it in a funny way, I would be offended, too."

Meir Rakocz, an Israeli photographer, said, "This is not creative, I take it as a bad joke. They should go back home and do their homework..."

The campaign made by D&G was an aversion to both Chinese and expats in Beijing who were approached by Metropolitan. Photo: VCG

Scandal flares

D&G has received blowback for offensive statements. The runway show that was planned to be held in Shanghai was canceled, and many Chinese e-commerce platforms including and Alibaba-operated Tmall withdrew D&G's products and blocked the brand within one day. 

"If I were Chinese, I wouldn't buy their stuff anymore," said a male interviewee from the US, who has lived in China for four years and chose not to be named.

The majority of China's general public remains skeptical toward their apology, saying that the apology was too late and it avoided the real issue of racist comments but blamed cultural differences instead.

"Do you guys think those businessmen really make their apologies sincerely? That's only for business. I would not accept that, China and the Chinese deserve more respect," one netizen named Martial-SG-Yuheng said in comments posted on the Global Times WeChat platform.

Dannielle Hill from the UK

Interviewees from Brazil

An interviewee from Denmark

An interviewee from the US

Meir Rakocz from Israsel

Weiyi (left) and Eking from China




Newspaper headline: Scandalous statements

Newspaper headline: Scandalous statements


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