Dolce & Gabbana is blaming a hacker for offensive remarks about Chinese people that were communicated via company officials' Instagram accounts.
Multiple news outlets have reported that the Instagram exchanges use racist and crude language in defense of a promotional campaign meant to advertising an upcoming fashion show in Shanghai. This campaign itself had also been subjected by some to accusations of stereotyping and cultural insensitivity, due to its content.
The offensive statements appear to come from show co-founder Stefano Gabbana during Instagram conversations with critics who complained about the ad campaign. Screenshots of these online exchanges were then later posted on social media for the public to see.
However, Dolce & Gabbana is claiming that a hacker actually broke into both the company's and Gabbana's Instagram accounts and wrote the controversial comments. Nevertheless, skeptical Chinese celebrities who had been slated to attend the event reportedly began to cancel their appearances in the wake of the tumult. The show was subsequently called off.
"Our Instagram account has been hacked. So [has] the account of Stefano Gabbana," the company said in a post on Instagram. "Our legal office is urgently investigating. We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China."
"Our dream was to bring to Shanghai a tribute event dedicated to China which tells our history and vision," the company said in another statement. "What happened today was very unfortunate not only for us, but also for all the people who worked day and night to being this event to life."