#BoycottDolceGabbana over hate speech

by Deepa Menon

There’s a poll accompanying the Telegraph's story of Elton John’s boycott of Dolce & Gabbana for the designers’ views on gay couples having children. These are the options:

A. Yes, what the designers said is awful.

B. They are entitled to their view.

Option B is leading the poll. But they would have a bigger landslide if they included option C: Both of the above.

D&G’s views are both awful and protected by free speech. They have the right to say what they think—and we have the right to judge them for it.

In an interview with an Italian publication, Panorama, the former couple (they broke up after over two decades in 2005), said: “We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one.” And: “I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalog.”

In response to this candid little shower of hate, Elton John, supported by other prominent gay parents and celebrities like Ricky Martin and Martina Navratilova, has started a movement to #BoycottDolceGabbana. Taking to Instagram, the singer said: 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

What seems to be at the heart of D&G seemingly self-loathing rant (a gay couple that believes gay couples make inadequate parents—whut?) is a mother fixation that seems straight out of ’70s Bollywood. Gabbana said: “A child needs a mother and a father. I could not imagine my childhood without my mother. I also believe that it is cruel to take a baby away from its mother.” The theme for the duo’s Milan Fashion Week outing this March was ‘Viva la Mamma’ and drew flak from Megan Gibson at Time.com for fetishizing pregnancy and motherhood.

Though Stefano Gabbana has responded to Elton John’s call for boycott by making a case for his democratic right to free speech, the designer is having some fun by curating all the brickbats directed at the label on Instagram. It may show he has a sense of humour. Or that he doesn’t take this seriously at all.

But he should. In a world where most gay couples are still fighting to be accepted, this regressive attitude from one of fashion’s most recognized brands is dispiriting. And despite what the Telegraph poll might suggest, we can both condemn and pity D&G for it.

Click through for the Viva la Mamma show and a creative D&G burn on Stefano Gabbana's Instagram 

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