Dolce & Gabbana Sues Diet Prada For Defamation
The controversy continues.
Many outrageous events have occurred within the fashion industry, yet perhaps one of the most shocking was when Dolce & Gabbana was involved in the infamous ‘China Scandal’ back in 2018. D&G is now claiming defamation from racist accusations made by fashion platform, Diet Prada, by filing a lawsuit seeking over $600 million in damages in civil court in Milan.
In response to the suit seeking €3 million for D&G and €1 million for Stefano Gabbana in damages, Diet Prada founders, Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler, are fighting back. They've announced that they’re being represented by Fashion Law Institute at Fordham in partnership with Italian law firm, AMSL Avvocati, which is providing them with a reduced rate. Liu and Schuyler have also set up a GoFundMe fundraiser to help offset their defense costs, which met $40,000 within 24 hours.
Diet Prada wrote in an Instagram caption, “With so much anti-Asian hate spreading in the U.S., it feels wrong to continue to remain silent about a lawsuit that threatens our freedom of speech. We are a small company co-founded by a person of color, trying to speak out against racism in our own community.”
The controversy began three years ago when Diet Prada described one of D&G’s campaigns as racist towards China and Chinese culture. Advertised before an upcoming Great Show, the campaign depicted a Chinese model attempting to eat oversized Italian food with chopsticks as part of a ‘chopstick instructional video’. In terms of cultural appropriation, it was widely felt that using an aspect of Chinese cuisine to eat western food with some difficulty was insensitive and mocked centuries of Chinese tradition.
Further dispute arose with exposed screenshots of private messages between model Michaela Tranova and Stefano Gabbana. In the DM, Tranova questioned Gabbana about how the campaign was celebrating Chinese culture, and whether he genuinely thought it was a respectful and tasteful portrayal, to which his insensitive remarks quickly went viral. The screenshots reveal Gabbana stating the ads were deleted from Chinese social media because his office is as “stupid as the superiority of the Chinese,” and used an emoji to describe China as “the country of sh*t.”
Shortly after this circulated online, several Chinese brand ambassadors cut ties with D&G and the label was forced to cancel its debut runway show in Shanghai. The comments sparked backlash worldwide. D&G founders, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, defended themselves by saying the Instagram accounts were hacked and they released an apology video to “sincerely ask for forgiveness,” explaining this “will never happen again.”
All in all, the misuse of cultures is unacceptable. Schuyler called on “public figures and brands to respond to public opinion and media critiques with progressive action, not lawsuits.” Gabbana said, “We must try harder to understand and respect Chinese culture.” Liu noted, “Diet Prada will continue to be a platform to elevate these crucial issues.”
Stay in the loop with updates over on Diet Prada’s Instagram.