Dolce & Gabbana cancels China show after racial row

The Italian fashion house quickly issued a statement apologizing and claimed its social media accounts have been hacked. (Reuters)
Updated 21 November 2018
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Dolce & Gabbana cancels China show after racial row

  • ‘Foreign companies operating in China should respect China and respect Chinese people’
  • ‘We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China’

BEIJING: Dolce & Gabbana canceled a long-planned fashion show in Shanghai Wednesday after an outcry over racially offensive posts on its social media accounts, a setback for the company in the world’s most important luxury market.
The Italian fashion house quickly issued a statement apologizing and saying the accounts as well as that of its namesake designer Stefano Gabbana had been hacked, but it did little to calm a brewing social media uproar in China.
Some of China’s biggest celebrities had been billed to attend the “Great Show” event, but on Wednesday one after another announced their withdrawal.
“Our mother country is more important than anything, we appreciate the vigor and beauty of our cultural heritage,” said the management of Wang Junkai, a hugely popular singer in boyband TFBoys, as they announced his withdrawal.
“I love my mother country,” actress Li Bingbing told her 42 million fans on Weibo.
The controversy arose after Dolce & Gabbana posted short clips on Instagram earlier this week showing a woman eating pizza and spaghetti with chopsticks that some deemed culturally insensitive.
It erupted into a firestorm after screenshots circulated of an Instagram user’s chat with the famously volatile Stefano Gabbana in which he used five smiling poop emojis to talk about China and launched insults at the country and its people.
Even China’s Communist Youth League jumped into the fray.
“Foreign companies operating in China should respect China and respect Chinese people,” the youth league tweeted to Dolce & Gabbana on Weibo.
Actor Talu Wang also tweeted on Weibo: “Respect is more important than anything.”
As the backlash escalated, Dolce & Gabbana took to Instagram and Weibo saying its account and that of designer Stefano Gabbana had been hacked and that its legal office was “urgently investigating” the matter.
“We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China,” the company said on Instagram.
Dolce & Gabbana said separately on its verified Weibo account that the show “has been rescheduled,” though it did not specify the reason nor did it give a new date for the event.
“We apologize for the inconvenience,” it said.
The controversy marks the latest backpedaling by a foreign company for offending Chinese consumers with advertising or information that insults China or clashes with Beijing’s official position.
Earlier this year, German automaker Mercedes-Benz apologized for “hurting the feelings” of people in China after its Instagram account quoted Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, seen as a separatist by Beijing.


The Six: Arab beauty queens show off national costumes at the Miss Universe show

Miss Egypt, Nariman Khaled, on stage at the 2018 Miss Universe contest. (AFP)
Updated 13 December 2018
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The Six: Arab beauty queens show off national costumes at the Miss Universe show

DUBAI: On Monday night, the only two Miss Universe contestants from the Middle East took to the stage in Thailand to take part in the national costume show, where contestants pay sartorial tribute to their homeland. We take a look at six beauty queens from Lebanon and Egypt who have represented their country throughout the years.

Nariman Khaled
Miss Egypt walked the stage at the 2018 Miss Universe national costume presentation in Thailand’s Chonburi province wearing a stunning gold-and-turquoise ensemble.

Maya Reaidy
Miss Lebanon 2018 chose to represent her homeland by paying tribute to the cedar tree — traditionally associated with the Levantine country.

Lara Debbane
Miss Egypt took part in the national costume show wearing an elaborate turquoise-and-silver headpiece at the 63rd Miss Universe pageant in Miami in 2015.

Saly Greige
In 2015, Miss Lebanon wowed crowds in Miami wearing a hot pink kaftan with embroidery on the neckline.

Donia Hamed
Miss Egypt 2010 posed with a scepter in hand at that year’s Miss Universe competition in Las Vegas.

Nadine Njeim
Miss Lebanon 2005 also paid tribute to the cedar tree at that year’s competition in Bangkok. She took to the stage in a floaty gold bodysuit with sequin embellishments and a tree-shaped headpiece.