Dolce & Gabbana has filed a lawsuit for defamation against Diet Prada, an Instagram account and fashion watchdog group, who reposted “racist” comments against Asian people, which were allegedly made by one of the designers.
The fashion house is suing bloggers Tony Liu and Lindsay Schulyer for over $600m (£434m) in damages, following their post leading to a boycott of the company by Asian customers.
Diet Prada posted screenshots of messages reportedly sent by Stefano Gabbana in 2018, which led retailers in Asian markets pulling the brand’s products from stores and marketplaces.
Originally filed in 2019 through a Milan court, the lawsuit was made public this week when Liu and Schulyer revealed the case on their Instagram account.
In a statement, the pair said: “With so much anti-Asian hate spreading in the U.S., it feels wrong to continue to remain silent about a lawsuit that threatens our freedom of speech. We are a small company co-founded by a person of color, trying to speak out against racism in our own community.
“The lawsuit argues that we should be held responsible for lost revenue and other harm to Dolce & Gabbana and its co-founder Stefano Gabbana after we criticized their 2018 advertising campaign on Weibo for its stereotypical and sexist depiction of a Chinese woman, and revealed anti-Asian remarks originating from Gabbana’s Instagram account.”
They added: “Following the widespread negative response to its advertising campaign and the withdrawal of many Chinese models and guests from a planned fashion show in Shanghai, the event was canceled and Dolce & Gabbana issued a public video apology featuring its founders.
“Shortly thereafter, in early 2019, the brand filed an action for defamation demanding that we pay damages in the amount of €3 million for Dolce & Gabbana and €1 million for Stefano Gabbana.”
Liu and Schyuler are coordinating its legal defence with the nonprofit Fashion Law Institute in response to Dolce & Gabbana’s lawsuit.