BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese e-commerce sites have ditched Dolce & Gabbana products amid a spiraling reaction after a series of ads that were condemned as "racist" by celebrities and social media.
PHOTO OF ARCHIVE: people pass in front of a Dolce & Gabbana store in a shopping complex in Shanghai, China, on November 22, 2018. REUTERS / Aly Song / File Photo
NetEase Inc's e-commerce platform, Kaola, confirmed that it had eliminated Dolce & Gabbana products, while luxury goods retailer Secoo said it eliminated the brand's listings on Wednesday night.
The checks made by Reuters on Thursday morning showed that the pages that were previously linked to the Dolce & Gabbana products on the e-commerce sites hosted by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and JD.com Inc. were no longer available and the searches for the brand did not return any product.
Alibaba and JD.com did not respond to requests for comments.
Earlier this week, the brand launched a series of ads in which a Chinese woman struggles to eat pizza and spaghetti with chopsticks, which generated criticism on social networks.
The error was aggravated when screenshots circulated online that seemed to show Dolce & Gabbana designer Stefano Gabbana making negative comments about China.
The issue quickly went viral on the Weibo platform of Twitter, with more than 120 million visits. The brand canceled a fashion show in Shanghai on Wednesday after the reaction.
The company then apologized in a statement on Weibo, saying that both the Gabbana accounts and those of the brand had been hacked.
The company did not respond to requests for comments on electronic commerce lists.
Celebrities, including the star of the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha," Zhang Ziyi, criticized the brand, while singer Wang Junkai said he had rescinded an agreement to be the brand's ambassador.
The uproar against the brand continued on Thursday, and many groups called for a boycott of the brand.
An airport tariff shop in Haikou city, southern China, said on Weibo that it had withdrawn all Dolce & Gabbana products from its shelves.
The Youth League of the Communist Party, the youth wing of the ruling Communist Party of China, said on Weibo "we welcome foreign companies to invest and develop in China … companies working in the country should respect China and the Chinese. "
Pei Li and Cate Cadell report in Beijing; Edited by Himani Sarkar