The founders of Dolce & Gabbana, in a video posted online, are asking for forgiveness as the backlash over racist ads only grows.
Friday’s mea culpa comes after a week-long public relations debacle, where customers and e-commerce platforms called the fashion line out for a series of commercials featuring a Chinese woman trying to use chopsticks to eat various Italian foods.
The situation got much worse when Instagram screenshots surfaced of cofounder Stefano Gabbana making racist comments about Chinese people (the company insists his account was hacked).
The fallout has been fast and furious. A major fashion show in Shanghai was canceled, e-commerce platforms like Alibaba and JD.com took down many of the company’s pages, and fashionistas around the world were appalled.
Now, the two founders are begging forgiveness… sort of.
“Our families have always taught us to respect various cultures in all the world, and this is why we want to ask for your forgiveness if we have made mistakes in interpreting yours,” said Domenico Dolce in the video. He went on: “We have always been in love with China. We’ve visited it and seen many of its cities. We love your culture and certainly have much to learn. That is why we are sorry if we made mistakes in the way we expressed ourselves.”
It’s almost an apology—but not quite. The founder asks for forgiveness… that is, if people were offended by his company’s actions. Gabbana piped in, “we will never forget this experience and it will certainly never happen again.”
You can see it all here:
Dolce&Gabbana apologizes. pic.twitter.com/eVLoHylnq6
— Dolce & Gabbana (@dolcegabbana) November 23, 2018
In effect, the company made a blunder that had an impact on its bottom line. Now the founders are apologizing if people misunderstood the way they expressed themselves. It’s the ultimate non-apology; I’m sorry you were offended, instead of I’m sorry for what I did.
“From the bottom of our hearts we ask for forgiveness,” implored Gabbana. We’ll see if the millions of people offended–both Chinese and the rest of us–will accept this apology.
— Heriberto Valadez (@heribertx) November 21, 2018