A screengrab of Dolce & Gabbana's controversial promotion.
A screengrab of Dolce & Gabbana's controversial promotion.

Dolce & Gabbana has canceled a Shanghai fashion show after allegations that the Italian fashion label’s advertising for the event is “racist,” according to media reports.

Videos posted on the social-media platforms Twitter and Instagram over the weekend showed a Chinese woman being told how to use chopsticks, which sparked outrage among many viewers, who accused the fashion house of cultural insensitivity and racism, CNBC reported. The videos were made to promote The Great Show, an event to be held at Shanghai’s Expo Center on Wednesday night.

However, the catwalk event has now been canceled, according to a report on industry website Business of Fashion. China Daily reported that celebrities including Zhang Ziyi, Li Binging and Wang Junkai had decided to shun the event before it was canceled.

The video series, titled Eating With Chopsticks, feature a woman eating pizza, spaghetti and a giant Italian cannolo pastry, while a male voiceover gives her instructions.

One angry netizen wrote, “Orientalism is expressed so explicitly in this ad. It’s very offensive to portray all Chinese ppl [people] in such a stereotypical way.” Another wrote, “This is so stupid and culturally insensitive! Take down this video at once D&G!” and a third said: “This is racist, take it back.”

Chinese news website Jing Daily reported that the films had been removed from social network Weibo. The paper also said the demand “Boycott Dolce” had appeared more than 18,000 times on Weibo.

The fashion house has outlets in 25 cities across China, according to its website. Chinese luxury consumers account for more than 500 billion yuan (US$72 billion) in annual spending, representing almost a third of the global luxury market, according to a 2017 McKinsey report.

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