In an Unusual Move, Dolce & Gabbana Are Suing a Fashion Watchdog for Covering a Designer's Racist Comments
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Milan fashion house Dolce & Gabbana has filed a defamation lawsuit in an Italian court and seeks more than $600 million in damages from two American bloggers.
The defendants are Tony Liu and Lindsay Schuyler, who run a fashion account on Instagram called Diet Prada. They both re-posted anti-Asian comments attributed to one of the Italian designers — the incident later led to a boycott by Asian consumers in 2018.
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Why the lawsuit?
The case dates back to 2018, after a fashion show was promoted in Shanghai that was considered culturally insensitive. Following the leaks of anti-Asian comments that Stafano Gabbana made in a private Instagram chat, the designer said it was a hack, and the brand's founders both apologized in a video to the Chinese people.
As a result, the show was canceled and retailers recalled the Dolce & Gabbana merchandise. The Italian firm later faced a boycott in Asia.
In 2019, the lawsuit was filed in the civil court of Milan, but the bloggers recently made it public on their Instagram account.
Susan Scafidi, director of the Fashion Law Institute, a nonprofit organization representing the bloggers, told The Associated Press that “[this] whole case is a way of trying to silence 'Diet Prada', and Tony and Lindsay personally.”
"A public apology and a silent demand really cancel each other out in my mind," Scafidi added. The bloggers' lawyers argue that the Italian court is not the appropriate place to carry out the process, since the defendants reside in the United States and the damage caused occurred in Asia.
Why is Dolce & Gabbana asking for $600 million?
The lawyer says that the Italian firm is asking for $600 million (or 500 million euros). The damages are broken down as follows: 450 million to restore the image of the brand since 2018, 3 million for the company and one million for the designer Stefano Gabbana, to whom the comments are attributed. The firm is also asking for 8.6 million for the cancellation of the show in Shanghai, another 8.6 million for personnel expenses and 89.6 million for lost sales in Asia between November 2018 and March 2019.
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What do you think? Is the measure taken by Dolce & Gabbana excessive?