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Well… the bitch is back. Yesterday, famed Italian designers Dolce and Gabbana drew the ire of gay icon Sir Elton John over comments they made in an interview with Panorama magazine. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who were romantically linked for 23 years before going strictly professional in 2005, were quoted as saying, “We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one. No chemical offspring and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.” Dolce followed up by saying that children, “must be an act of love,” before adding: “You are born to a mother and a father — or at least that’s how it should be.” Gabbana finished with, “”I call children of chemistry synthetic children. Uteri [for] rent, semen chosen from a catalogue… The family is not a fad. In it there is a supernatural sense of belonging.”
Naturally Sir John, who has two children with Canadian husband David Furnish, took offence to this. Taking to his Instagram, he posted, “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic.’ And shame on you for wagging your judgemental 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.”
The #BoycottDolceGabbana has since taken off across social media, generating huge amounts of support including fellow celebrities Ryan Murphy, Ricky Martin, Courtney Love, and Perez Hilton. Naturally, Dolce and Gabbana released a lacklustre “apology” yesterday in response.
There has also been an insidious backlash to #BoycottDolceGabbana. Fans of Dolce and Gabbana’s traditional views (read: narrow-minded, homophobic vitriol) have created an opposing hashtag of #BoycottEltonJohn. This was to be expected, it is well-documented that such people exist. It’s called Fox News and we’re over it. We’re going to ignore how insensitive and backwards their points are, along with how stupid it is to piss of the gays, to focus on something even more troubling.
What is more unsettling is the amount of people attempting to twist the matter into a freedom of speech issue and comparing it to the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in France this past January. The murderous rampage, carried out by two extremists doling out retribution for the magazine’s unflattering depiction of the prophet Mohammed, left 12 people dead and a further 11 injured. Frankly, to compare the two issues is insulting to those who died in Paris and the movement that is #JeSuisCharlie.
#BoycottDolceGabbana is not a freedom of speech issue. Neither Sir Elton John nor the public at large are saying that these two designers can’t have their opinions. However, by putting them out into the public forum, they open themselves up to criticism. Unlike Charlie Hebdo, they are not making a political statement they feel would preserve the integrity of basic freedoms. They are not thumbing their noses at extremists, knowing fully well that real violence may come to their doorstep. They are not fighting for a cause greater than themselves. Rather, they have allowed their own internalized homophobia to run amok and are the ones doing the harm instead.
As consumers, social media users, and citizens of the world, people are voicing their choice to not to support Dolce and Gabbana. They are exercising their right to not buy clothing made by homophobes. Nobody is saying burn all the copies of Panorama or storm D&G’s head office. Nobody is saying anybody should be hurt. Nobody is going to die tomorrow because of this. Boycotting is not bullets.
And besides, as is the nature of fashion (see the recent return of John Galliano), chances are this controversy will pass and Dolce and Gabbana will live to see another day. The victims of the Charlie Hebdo attacks were not so lucky – and that is the important part.
What are your thoughts on #BoycottDolceGabbana? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.