"We are confident that Diet Prada is on the right side of both law and history"

Dolce & Gabbana has filed a defamation lawsuit against Instagram fashion bloggers Diet Prada.

In 2018, the Italian fashion brand released a controversial advert. Titled ‘Eat with Your Chopsticks’, the ad features an Asian woman struggling to eat Italian food including pasta, pizza and cannolis with traditional chopsticks. “Is it too huge for you?” asks the male narrator.

Diet Prada shed light on the advert and shared racist private messages from co-founder Stefano Gabbana who defended the advert saying,  “if the Chinese feel offended by a girl who spells [sic] pizza or pasta with chopsticks means that those Chinese feel inferior… and then it’s a problem not ours!”

Dolce & Gabbana’s branding consequently reached an all-time low in China and the Chinese model featured in the ad said it almost ruined her career. In response, the fashion house issued a 1:25 minute apology video.

Tony Liu and Lindsey Schuyler, founders of the Instagram account, have now revealed that they have been battling Dolce & Gabbana in a lawsuit since early 2019.

“As an Asian-American, I’m part of a community that is often misrepresented,” said Liu. “Like many people of colour in the United States, there’s pain that stems from seeing ourselves depicted through inaccurate, harmful stereotypes. Often, it leads to racism and violence.”

“For two years, I’ve stayed silent and carried the burden of this lawsuit on my shoulders. During this time, the world was forced to reckon with the systemic racism in the U.S. that led to the murder of George Floyd and countless other Black lives, as well as the xenophobia that further fuelled Trump’s anti-Asian rhetoric in the age of COVID-19,”

“In the outpouring of support for these communities being targeted, we all continue to see the power of solidarity and speaking truth to power. Diet Prada will continue to be a platform to elevate these crucial issues.”

Dolce & Gabbana is seeking €450m for the restoration of the brand image since 2018, damages of €3m for the company and €1m for Mr Gabbana.

It also seeks more than €8.6m for the cancellation of the Shanghai show, which was due to take place just days after Gabbana’s messages were leaked. €8.6m is being sought for for staff expenditures and €89.6m for lost Asian sales between November 2018 and March 2019.

Professor Susan Scafidi, founder and director of the Fashion Law Institute, said in a statement that Diet Prada was not in the wrong.

“We are confident that Diet Prada is on the right side of both law and history,” she said. “And we are honoured to help them demonstrate that harmful stereotypes are never in style.”

On 4 March, Diet Prada started a GoFundMe page to help cover the legal expenses of their defence. It has since raised almost $50,000.

In other news, a TikTok user has filmed himself using a voice clip to mock Asian accents.

 

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