Dolce & Gabbana 'racist' ad leads to Chinese boycott

SHANGHAI • Chinese e-commerce firm Yangmatou has taken 58,000 Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) products off its site, saying "the motherland is more important than anything else".

On Alibaba's Tmall shopping portal, a search for D&G returned no results, as did a check on JD.com's site.

The boycott comes after the Italian fashion house's Chinese advertising campaign was deemed racist and insensitive, with the fallout also causing the cancellation of its Shanghai show on Wednesday.

Bloomberg reported that the advertising clips show a Chinese model in a red D&G dress struggling to eat Italian foods like spaghetti and cannoli pastry with chopsticks.

A suggestive male voiceover asks: "Is it too big for you?"

The backlash mounted after screenshots of messages sent from D&G's co-founder Stefano Gabbana's Instagram account were leaked, including one that said the videos were posted "by my will", the New York Times reported.

Another message complained of a "China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia". The brand said its account and that of Gabbana had been hacked, but many Chinese netizens were not buying that.

A commentary on the WeChat account of the official People's Daily warned that "if one is not willing to understand China, eventually it will lose the China market and the benefits arising from China's growth".

Beijing's tough stand also prompted the brand's ambassadors for Asia Pacific - singer Karry Wang and actress Dilraba Dilmurat - to end their contracts.

Actress Zhang Ziyi said she would also boycott the brand.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 23, 2018, with the headline 'Dolce & Gabbana 'racist' ad leads to Chinese boycott'. Print Edition | Subscribe