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.
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