Gay Dolce & Gabbana Designers Apologize About Homophobic Comments, Social Users Still Sour
"Dolce" may be Italian for "sweet," but that's the opposite of what was happening on social media Monday to Dolce and Gabbana's reputation. Sour calls for boycotts multiplied on Monday, despite both Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana apologizing on Instagram for the fabric gurus' comments about children of gay couples being "synthetic." The boycott movement began on Sunday with Sir Elton John's Instagram post ending in #BoycottDolceGabbana. Why didn't Dolce and Gabbana's apologies end the backlash?
1. They Waited Too Long to Apologize. On March 11, Italian magazine Panorama publishes an article quoting the former couple. On March 12, LGBT News Italia translates the sentence that sets off the most fury, "The only family is the traditional one. No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: Life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed."
On March 13, The New Civil Rights Movement runs a post containing the above statement and adds this: Procreation "must be an act of love," Domenico Dolce says, according to a Google translation. "I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Uteri [for] rent, semen chosen from a catalog."
"The family is not a fad," adds Stefano Gabbana. "In it there is a supernatural sense of belonging."
At 7:30 a.m. on March 14, three days after fans began reacting to the statements, the Advocate publishes an article with all of this information. Shortly afterward, American fans begin reacting:
"Just threw my cologne away," writes Matthew Ray on the Dolce and Gabbana Facebook Page on March 14. "The smell of ignorance doesn't suit me."
None of the 24 replies to Ray's comment are from the brand.
Then the biggest hit comes on Sunday. Sir Elton John, who is raising two sons with his husband, posts this to Instagram along with the picture of Dolce and Gabbana that is in the media player, at right:
How dare you refer to my beautiful children as "synthetic." And shame on you for wagging your judgemental [sic] little fingers at IVF—a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil [sic] their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana
Between 10 and 11 a.m. on Monday, the same hour when Dolce and Gabbana post their apologies on Instagram, the singer's hashtag (#BoycottDolceGabbana) is used more than 1,000 times on Twitter and he's trending on Facebook.
2. They Apologized In Only One Place. On Monday morning, the brand site, Twitter and Facebook were devoid of statements. Two posts appeared on Instragram. One from Dolce and one from Gabbana.
I'm a Sicilian and I grew up in a traditional family, made up of a mother, a father and children. I am very well aware of the fact that there are other types of families and they are as legitimate as the one I've known. But in my personal experience, family had a different configuration. That is the place where I learnt [sic] the values of love and family. This is the reality in which I grew up, but it does not imply that I don't understand different ones. I was talking about my personal view, without judging other people's choices and decisions.
The one from Gabbana has four-letter words in its responses, so this is also a transcription:
We firmly believe in democracy and the fundamental principle of freedom of expression that upholds it. We talked about our way of seeing reality, but it was never our intention to judge other people’s choices. We do believe in freedom and love.
3. Their Apologies May Seem Insincere and/or Condescending. “ ‘As my family is white and that is the reality I know, I do not comprehend black families.' This is how absurd you sound. Open your mind,” writes Esther Mateos (@3estherm) on Instagram, amid mostly negative comments. A few were applauding Dolce and Gabbana sticking to their “strong values.” (@miraromann)
4. (Former?) Fans Don’t Yet Know If They’ve Learned From the Experience. Most positive responses appear to be from Christian fans and it’s unclear if they’re new ones. Meanwhile, these types of posts continue:
— TigerMom (@Sabertrooth) March 15, 2015
This TigerMom tweet appears to be talking about the fall line paying tribute to mothers.
— Dolce & Gabbana (@dolcegabbana) March 13, 2015
Vs. this older ad, which is not suitable for work.
What else can marketers learn from the Dolce and Gabbana situation?
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