The Chinese model who took part in Dolce & Gabbana’s controversial advertisement is speaking out to apologize for her involvement and claims that the commercial “completely ruined” her career.
The Italian luxury fashion brand was forced to cancel a runway show in Shanghai and apologize to Chinese people after a series of ads called “Eating with Chopsticks” drew major backlash for racial stereotyping, South China Morning Post reported.
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#DGlovesChina ? More like #DGdesperateforthatChineseRMB lol. In a bid to further appeal to luxury’s covetable Chinese consumers, @dolcegabbana released some hella offensive “instructional” videos on the usage of chopsticks. Pandering at it’s finest, but taken up a notch by painting their target demographic as a tired and false stereotype of a people lacking refinement/culture to understand how to eat foreign foods and an over-the-top embellishment of cliché ambient music, comical pronunciations of foreign names/words, and Chinese subtitles (English added by us), which begs the question—who is this video actually for? It attempts to target China, but instead mocks them with a parodied vision of what modern China is not…a gag for amusement. Dolce & Gabbana have already removed the videos from their Chinese social media channels, but not Instagram. Stefano Gabbana has been on a much-needed social media cleanse (up until November 2nd), so maybe he kept himself busy by meddling with the marketing department for this series. Who wants to bet the XL cannoli “size” innuendos were his idea? Lmao. • #dolceandgabbana #altamoda #rtw #dgmillennials #stefanogabbana #shanghai #chinese #italian #cannoli #meme #wtf #dumb #lame #chopsticks #foodie #tutorial #cuisine #italianfood #asianmodel #asian #chinesefood #dietprada
Zuo Ye, the model who was depicted eating pizza, pasta and a cannoli with chopsticks, said she questioned the director but was not given any details prior to filming.
“I was only told that they were going to be social videos and that it would involve Italian food,” the model wrote in a lengthy statement on her Weibo page on Monday, according to the Daily Mail.
The three videos were designed to promote the advertising campaign “DG Loves China” for the Shanghai fashion show in November.
“Everyone at the shoot spoke Italian. Only the director spoke to me in English when he was giving me instructions. I didn’t talk to anyone else,” Zuo said, adding that they shot the ads at a Chinese restaurant in Milan.
She was taken aback when the director told her to pick up the cannoli with a pair of chopsticks.
“Obviously I failed the first try, since the cannoli was so large,” Zuo wrote. “I asked if he was ‘kidding me.’”
“The director said: ‘Yes! I know it’s hard, just try to do that,’” Zuo said. “I thought it was very embarrassing and silly as the pieces of food were so large.”
The model was instructed to use the chopsticks again for the pizza and pasta.
“Out of respect and trust for the brand, I failed to consider the consequences after the videos were published. I apologize for being inconsiderate and I will take this incident as a lesson,” Zuo wrote.
“I never thought being a model for the brand would have almost ruined my modeling career,” she continued.
Zuo also claims that she and those close to her have received death threats during the backlash.
“I deeply respect and love my country and would never do anything to harm China’s reputation. I am proud to be representing China on the runway,” she said. “I apologize for everything once again.”
The campaign was accused of racism and D&G co-founder Stefano Gabbana added fuel to the fire after screenshots of his messages on social media describing China as a “country of sh**,” made the internet rounds.
Although Gabbana and his partner Domenico Dolce attempted to apologize on video, the massive backlash resulted in the cancelation of the runway show and boycotts from celebrities, e-commerce sites and Chinese consumers chucking their products in the garbage.