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Dolce & Gabbana Issues Apology to China After Backlash Over Ads

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The founders of Dolce & Gabbana issued an apology Friday after outrage over a recent advertising campaign led to the postponement of their Shanghai fashion show.

This week, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana faced a widespread backlash over commercials promoting the upcoming Shanghai show. The adverts featured a Chinese woman attempting to eat Italian food with chopsticks. In one, the woman struggles to eat a cannoli and a narrator asks, “Is it too big for you?”

In a video, the designers apologized for the advertisements, which many found racist.

“We have always been in love with China,” Dolce said in the video. “We love your culture and we certainly have much to learn. That is why we are sorry if we made mistakes in the way we expressed ourselves.”

“We will never forget this experience and it will certainly never happen again,” Gabbana said. “From the bottom of our hearts, we ask for forgiveness.”

The designers capped off the video by saying “sorry” in Chinese.

The commercials caused an uproar on social media and thousands of the high-end fashion house’s products were removed from China’s biggest shopping websites. Dolce & Gabbana was forced to cancel the Shanghai fashion show before it was scheduled to begin due to celebrities boycotting the event and models reportedly refusing to participate.

The controversy continued when leaked messages from Gabbana’s Instagram were made public. In the messages, Gabbana appears to say the controversial videos were posted “by my will” and complains about the “China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia.”

Gabbana claimed that his Instagram account was hacked.


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Write to Gina Martinez at gina.martinez@time.com