Former openly gay couple and Italian billionaires Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, are the target of social media uproar after comments they made about synthetic babies. The fashion duo, were the subject of a cover story for Italian weekly Panorama titled “Long-Live the [Traditional] Family,” in which the designers came out against the use of surrogate mothers while claiming children need “a mother and a father” (Forbes). Sir Elton John who is married to a man with two children via surrogate mother, initiated the backlash towards Dolce and Gabbana. He took to twitter saying, “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as “synthetic”. And shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana.”
This social media crisis falls under the crisis category of challenges. Dolce and Gabbana originally believed they were voicing their opinions peacefully, but the public perceived their comments as a violent assault against the gay community. This is ironic because they were once an openly gay couple. This campaign to boycott Dolce and Gabbana shows that businesses need to watch what they say to the media. Even small statements that are meant to be harmless can turn into monumental problems for the company. If Dolce and Gabbana would have placed greater thought into how the public would respond to their comments this could have been prevented.
Dolce and Gabbana each issued a statement regarding the debacle. Gabbana stated, “We firmly believe in democracy and the fundamental principle of freedom of expression that upholds it. We talked about our way of seeing reality, but it was never our intention to judge other people’s choices” (PR Daily). Dolce stated, “I’m Sicilian and I grew up in a traditional family, made up of a mother, a father and children. I am very well aware of the fact that there are other types of families and they are as legitimate as the one I’ve known. But in my personal experience, family had a different configuration” (PR Daily).
The men of fashion have not utilized twitter to respond to the all of the negative press and I do not think they should have to. By responding on twitter Dolce and Gabbana would be jumping right back into the line of fire. The brand itself has a large enough client base that this boycott should have minimal effects. The public is criticizing their comments and opinions using opinions of their own, and that is not right. Opinions are protected under freedom of speech and freedom of expression, but if you want to avoid any negative feedback, then keep them out of social media. In the future that would help prevent any more controversies such as this one.
I think Dolce and Gabbana just need to keep their opinions out of the media for a while until this situation blows over. Eventually everything will go back to normal.