Dolce & Gabbana filed a lawsuit against two U.S. bloggers over defamation allegations.
Dolce & Gabbana, a Milan fashion house, is suing two U.S. fashion bloggers for $600 million in a defamation suit. According to the allegations, the bloggers “reposted anti-Asian comments attributed to one of the designers that led to a boycott by Asian consumers.” The suit itself was filed in Milan civil court back in 2019, but became public this week in the U.S. after the bloggers “posted about it on their Instagram account, Diet Prada.” Because of the nature of their work, their feed is “widely followed in the fashion world.”
Susan Scafidi is heading up the bloggers’ defense. She is the director of the Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School and said, “This whole case is a way of trying to silence Diet Prada, and to silence Tony Liu and Lindsay Schuyler personally.”
What happened, exactly? Why was the lawsuit filed? According to court documents, the case dates back to November 2018. Around that time, Dolce & Gabbana was facing a “boycott in Asia after outrage over what was seen as culturally insensitive videos promoting a major runway show in Shanghai and subsequent posts of insulting comments in a private Instagram chat.”
As a result, the show was canceled as a result, “which included retailers pulling Dolce & Gabbana merchandise and Asian VIPs disavowing the brand.” At first, Designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana tried to say that Gabbana’s account “had been hacked,” but later the two “appeared in a video apologizing to the Chinese people.”
Earlier this month, Italian defense attorneys filed a brief in Milan civil court that argued Italy “is not the correct venue for the case, given that the blog is produced in the United States and the alleged damages occurred in Asia.”
“The fashion house is seeking 450 million euros spent to restore brand image since 2018 and damages of 3 million euros for the company and 1 million for Gabbana, to whom the remarks were attributed…The suit also seeks more than 8.6 million euros for the cancellation of the Shanghai show, another 8.6 million euros for staff expenditures and 89.6 million euros for lost Asian sales from November 2018-March 2019.”
Diet Prada has more than 2.5 million Instagram followers, and since going public about the case, it has raised more than $38,000 to go toward its defense. When asked about the case, Liu and Schuyler said “they will not allow their platform, which has also been vocal about the #MeToo movement, Black Lives Matter and recent attacks on Asians in the United States, to be silenced by lawsuits.” Liu added, “Diet Prada will continue to be a platform to elevate these crucial issues.”