January 5, 2018
One half of Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana, Stefano Gabbana, has accused fashion Instagrammer @Diet_Prada of cyberbullying.
The @Diet_Prada handle posts criticism of the fashion industry and its stalwarts as well as calling attention to design and campaign rip-offs. The account, once ran by an anonymous figure within the fashion community, has more than 207,000 followers and no brand or designer is safe from its critical lens.
Bullies at large
@Diet_Prada has repeatedly called our Mr. Gabbana for the posts on his personal Instagram account as well as work by the Dolce & Gabbana brand.
On Dec. 22, for example, @Diet_Prada shared a side-by-side of a T-shirt posted by Mr. Gabbana set against a rainbow background. The designer’s shirt reads “I’m not gay. I’m a man” while @Diet_Prada’s says, “I’m gay and I’m a man.”
The difference in phrasing calls attention to Mr. Gabbana’s identity politics, a complicated subject, which @Diet_Prada feels is harmful to the LGBTQ community at large.
Why not get you a man who can do both? 😂 But, seriously...one has to question Stefano Gabbana's intent in his latest campaign. Is his disassociation an act of self-preservation stemming from a deep sense of self-loathing or is he preaching a viewpoint he thinks we should all believe in? Unfortunately, in many parts of the world, people are still terrorized, imprisoned, and killed for being gay. For Stefano—an affluent white man working in an industry that is accepting of LGBTQ people—to flex his privilege in saying such, is disconcerting to say the very least. Identity politics are complicated waters to tread with a gulf of many more factors that can bar us from understanding each other on a deeper level. Maybe Stefano doesn't have gay friends outside of Domenico and his boy toys? Anyway...empathy is always the first step, so maybe we all need to enlighten him. For the gays (and/or "not gays"), what are your thoughts and what's your personal relationship with the word "gay" and defining yourself as such, past and present?
The most recent post by @Diet_Prada to have Dolce & Gabbana in its crosshairs is a video showing gloved hands lighting the brand’s clothing tag with a lighter. Beyonce’s track “6 Inch” plays as the video clip's soundtrack.
Since it was posted about 20 hours ago, the tag burning has been viewed more than 75,000 times and has racked up hundreds of comments, both for and against Dolce & Gabbana.
Never one to keep quiet in the face of adversity, Mr. Gabbana began resharing @Diet_Prada’s scathing posts with his own captions.
In one instance, @Diet_Prada created a meme with Mariah Carey, who famously pretended not to know who Taylor Swift was during an interview, but the text says, “When someone asks us about Stefano Gabbana.” The response says, “I don’t know her,” but in his repost, Mr. Gabbana adds the line #PleaseSaySorryToMe and #ImNotGayImAMan.
Mr. Gabbana’s caption says that what @Diet_Prada is doing is “true bullying.”
Other responses by Mr. Gabbana says that @Diet_Prada is full of hate and that the account should be shut down. In one post, Mr. Gabbana says, “...you would think that at 55 and with a net worth of $1.5 billion, that she’d have a better sense of security lol.” Mr. Gabbana also calls the person behind the account petty and suggests she should have quit at her peak.
Despite Mr. Gabbana's comment, @Diet_Prada's true identity has been revealed to be that of two Brooklyn-based Americans, Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler, who work in the fashion industry.
The duo has kept quiet about their day jobs and their professional identities, but confirmed to Financial Times that they run @Diet_Prada last week, explaining that they are bringing to light the things insiders have thought about the fashion industry but were afraid to say out loud.
Nevertheless, in one caption, Mr. Gabbana says, “It is very sad to see that Americans do these actions!!! Bullying is a form of dangerous violence, we must teach children respect for others and for different ideas and how to defend themselves from these things!”
Although Mr. Gabbana seems truly hurt by @Diet_Prada’s posts and criticism of him, the Italian designer has also been on the opposite end of a bullying accusation.
Back in April 2017, Dolce & Gabbana’s designers found themselves under fire for being insensitive to women who may suffer from eating disorders or struggle with body image.
For fall 2017, Dolce & Gabbana decorated a pair of tennis-style sneakers with studs, sequins and phrases written in marker and pen. But, one of the marker-written phrases says, “I’m thin & gorgeous” in capital letters.
At the time, Mr. Gabbana shared an illustration of the shoe on his personal Instagram account. From there, his followers and news outlets voiced concern over the message Dolce & Gabbana’s design was sending to its female consumer base.
In response to the comments, Mr. Gabbana replied by saying, “u think is better to be fat full of hamburger??? Stupid” and “darling you prefer to be fat and full of cholesterol??? I think u have a problem,” among other statements (see story).
Perhaps Mr. Gabbana has since realized the impact cyberbullying may have now that he has been the subject of @Diet_Prada’s bullying.