Dolce & Gabbana goods disappeared Thursday from Chinese e-commerce sites as the fallout grew over remarks insulting to China that were apparently made by two of its Instagram accounts. The company has blamed hackers. Searches for Dolce & Gabbana turned up no items on major online retailers such as Alibaba's Tmall and JD.com, per the AP. Both companies didn't respond to requests for comment. A duty-free shop at the Haikou Meilan airport on China's Hainan island posted a photo of empty shelves on its social media account, saying it had pulled all D&G products. The retailers' moves came one day after screenshots were circulated showing co-founder Stefano Gabbana referring to China with crude terms and emoji as he defended promo videos that had sparked controversy. The remarks were made in a private message exchange with another Instagram user.
The Dolce & Gabbana account also used offensive language in a separate exchange. The three promotional videos that led to the Instagram fiasco showed a Chinese woman using chopsticks to eat pizza and other Italian food, which many in China called racist and full of outdated stereotypes. The Italian luxury fashion house apologized and said both accounts had been hacked. "We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China," it wrote. The apology was too late to save a major extravaganza in Shanghai that Dolce & Gabbana had billed as one of its biggest shows ever outside of Italy. Chinese celebrities threatened to boycott the event, which had been scheduled for Wednesday, and the company finally called it off. "It's the kiss of death for Dolce & Gabbana," says Shaun Rein, founder of China Market Research Group. "I expect them to have a real tough time over the next six to 12 months." (More on the hubbub here.)