Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian luxury fashion house, had their show in Shanghai canceled by the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Shanghai. The racist videos used to promote the show and Stefano Gabbana's racist Instagram direct messages to Michaela Phuong, a fashion writer, were what caused it to be canceled.
The fashion house first came under fire for their 'DG Loves China' campaign because of its offensive depiction of Chinese people. The ads were meant to create excitement for their Shanghai catwalk show called 'The Great Show,' but they failed because it actually caused China to boycott Dolce & Gabbana.
The videos featured a Chinese woman trying to eat pizza, spaghetti, and a cannoli with chopsticks. The entire video makes it seem like the woman is inferior for using chopsticks and that she is not smart enough to use a knife and fork. It implies that using chopsticks is primitive and that you are only sophisticated if you eat with a knife and fork. In the background of the videos, there is stereotypical Chinese music playing and the person behind the camera speaking to the woman pronounces Dolce & Gabbana in a way that seems to ridicule how Chinese people pronounce the brand's name. There was even an inappropriate sexual innuendo in the cannoli video where the woman is asked: "It's [the cannoli] still way too big for you, isn't it?"
These videos were posted on Dolce & Gabbana's Weibo account, which is a Chinese social media site, and the Weibo users were so infuriated by the ads that they got the videos deleted within 24 hours. However, they remained up on Dolce & Gabbana's Instagram account, but only with Chinese subtitles. This is when Diet Prada, an account dedicated to exposing the fashion industry, got a hold of the cannoli video and re-uploaded it with English subtitles to their Instagram. This prompted Michaela Phuong to send a direct message to Stefano Gabbana's Instagram account and call him out for the racist ads. He defended the ads as being a tribute to China and then claimed that it's the Chinese's problem if they feel offended by the ads. Gabbana then went as far as to say that Phuong eats dogs because she is Asian.
The screenshots of their conversation spread across the internet and it led to many Chinese models and celebrities saying that they would no longer be attending 'The Great Show.' The outrage that Gabbana's messages caused across China were what led to the show being canceled.
Gabbana has addressed the controversy on his Instagram and posted that those screenshots were not him and that his account had been hacked. The Dolce & Gabbana Instagram also posted saying their account had been hacked. Both posts claim to love China and Chinese culture, but this is just the fashion house's attempt at saving their reputation. Diet Prada shared a screenshot that showed that before Gabbana's conversation with Phuong went viral, he posted screenshots of their conversation on his Instagram story.
This racist behavior is not out of character for Dolce & Gabbana. For example, in 2012 the fashion house had models walk down the catwalk at Milan fashion week with earrings that resembled Blackamoor statues, which are racist caricatures of Black people that romanticize slavery. And in 2015, they sold shoes that they named "slave sandals with pompoms" but then changed the name to "decorative flat sandals." I doubt anyone believes that Gabbana's Instagram account and Dolce & Gabbana's Instagram account were both hacked because they have already proven for many years that they are racist.