Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana are reacting the recent controversy regarding their statements on same-sex marriage and in vitro fertilization (IVF), as the fallout continues with one high-level executive quitting.
Gabbana called singer Elton John fascist in a recent interview with the Italian magazine Corriere della Sera. Gabbana said, in reacting to the controversy, that it was hypocritical of John to launch a public attack on his business for a personal opinion while speaking of improving tolerance. He also said differing beliefs are equally deserving of respect. Dolce said in past interviews that being a homosexual prevents him from having a family, but that is how things are meant to be in nature.
The controversy erupted when Dolce & Gabbana stated in an interview with Panorama magazine, an Italian celebrity publication, that a traditional family is the only one considered as a real family. Dolce & Gabbana, who are publicly gay, reacted harshly against the political controversy of same-sex marriage and enhanced medical treatments, specifically IVF, to have children. The men called such children “synthetic children” with women having “uteruses for rent.”
The statements did not settle well with John, who is married to his partner David Furnish and their family includes two children born through IVF. The singer initiated a boycott. His protest against the Dolce & Gabbana brand has since been joined by other celebrities including Ryan Murphy, Courtney Love, Victoria Beckham and Martina Navratilova.
The latest move came from Giuliano Federico, a Dolce & Gabbana executive who was the executive director of the designers’ magazine Swide. Federico announced on Facebook he is leaving the high-end company after seven years because comments by Dolce & Gabbana did not twine with his personal beliefs. Federico said designers should simply make clothes and the opinions of the designers are in conflict with his civil rights’ views.
Dolce & Gabbana released a new public statement Sunday reaffirming their stances in their reaction to the controversy, saying they believe in the freedom to express opinion and in democracy, and they were not trying to judge the choices of others.
The Italian designers are not new to public attacks over their views or how they conduct business. The duo were sentenced to 18 months in a suspended jail sentence last year after it was discovered they hid money from Italian tax officials. Dolce & Gabbana also ran into protests in 2012 when their models sported colorful jewelry reminiscent of slavery.
Dolce & Gabbana also faced protests in Spain, as well as their home country of Italy, in 2007 over a print advertisement that portrayed what appeared to be a gang rape. The female model, dressed in a bathing suit and heels, was being held to the ground by a half-naked man with other near-naked men watching. The advertisement was quickly pulled and replaced with a tamer version with the men wearing suits and no physical contact with the female model.
Dolce & Gabbana traditionally turns over $1 billion in sales annually and public relation strategists predict the way they react to this controversy could affect those sales. Strategists point out that other brands, like Chick-fil-A and J.C. Penny’s have weathered similar storms and continue to move ahead in business.
By Melody Dareing
Simon A courtesy of Flickr