China Focus: D&G products removed from e-commerce sites amid racism accusations
SHANGHAI, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese e-commerce giants including Alibaba's Tmall and JD.com have removed items of Italian luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana from their platforms amid a racism row.
Other major e-business sites such as Suning.com, NetBase and Vip.com have also removed D&G products from their websites.
According to Vip.com, its online retailers have suspended sales of D&G products and have been keeping a close eye on the development of the row.
D&G caused public outcry after the brand posted three short videos on its Instagram and Sina Weibo over the weekend to promote its Shanghai fashion event.
The videos featured a female Asian model struggling to eat pizza and other Italian food with chopsticks, with a male voiceover imitating the Chinglish accent and mocking Chinese pronunciation of the brand's name.
The videos sparked uproar, with many accusing the brand of cultural insensitivity and racism. Critics said the tone of the video was arrogant, demeaning and reinforced stereotypes about Chinese culture. The videos were later removed from D&G's official Weibo account.
The situation escalated after an Instagram user posted screenshots of her private messages with the company's co-founder, Stefano Gabbana, who insulted China as he fought back at the accusations of racism.
The D&G fashion show, originally scheduled to take place in Shanghai on Wednesday night, was later canceled. Chinese A-list celebrities invited to the show, including Zhang Ziyi, Chen Kun, Li Bingbing and Wang Junkai, had all withdrawn from the event before D&G had even announced the cancelation.
It was reported that around 5,000 global guests had been invited to the show, which was supposed to be the biggest not only in the brand's history, but the biggest among any other foreign competitors' shows in China.
D&G responded to the incident via its Weibo account saying that Gabbana's Instagram account had been hacked and posting an image with the words "NOT ME" written across the screenshots of the exchange.
"We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China," the company said.
But the statement failed to sooth public outrage. Netizens later said they were unsatisfied because D&G didn't apologize to the Chinese market. D&G later announced on Weibo that the show had been rescheduled for another day. Yi Shen, with the Research Center for the Governance of Global Cyberspace at Fudan University, said that the incident shows how powerful Chinese netizens and consumers can be in defending the dignity of their nation.
"D&G should learn a lesson from the incident," he said. "Each company should be responsible for their behavior."