The backlash in China against luxury Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana has worsened since Wednesday, with retailers now boycotting the label after it ran ads that were deemed 'racist' by the Chinese public.
How did it start?
The promotional video, under the hashtag #DGTheGreatShow and #DGLovesChina, showed a Chinese woman struggling to eat Italian dishes such as pizza and pasta with chopsticks.
It sparked outrage online, with people dubbing the brand "racist" on social media.
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.
The designers raised the ire of the Chinese public further when a fashion Instagram influencer revealed an alleged conversation with co-founder with Stefano Gabbana sharing derogatory comments.
In response, Gabbana said his Instagram account had been hacked and that his legal office was working on it.
Fashion show cancelled
The backlash resulted in the company cancelling its multi-million dollar fashion show in Shanghai earlier this week.
Retailers drop Dolce & Gabbana
Amid the backlash, retailers are now dropping the label.
Andrew Keith, president of Lane Crawford, told the South China Morning Post: “With respect to our customers, we have taken the decision to remove Dolce & Gabbana from all stores in China, online and in Hong Kong.” The decision would take effect at 1 pm on Friday, Lane Crawford said.
China-based online retailers Alibaba, JD, Secoo, VIPshop and NetEase have also dropped Dolce & Gabbana from their websites.
On Friday, the designers posted an apology video on their Weibo page.
Sitting at a long table, wearing black and solemn expressions on their face, the pair took turns, expressing their sadness over what they considered a misunderstanding.
"These days we’ve been reconsidering a lot. With sadness, about what everything we’ve caused in your country. We’re very sorry about it," said co-founder Domenico Dolce.
"In our families, we’ve always been taught to respect the various cultures in the world.
"That’s why we want to say sorry for having made the mistake to misinterpret yours," he added.
Gabbana, who has been at the centre of the scandal, shared his apologies to "all the Chinese around in the world."
He added: "We’ve always been very crazy about China, we’ve visited it a lot. We’ve been in many cities. We love your culture. And surely, we are sorry to have made a mistake in the way we express ourselves."