Elton John recently took to social media with the hashtag “#BoycottDolceGabbana,” in retaliation for Domenico Dolce’s comments against in vitro fertilization (IVF) and gay adoptions, according to Rolling Stone. While Dolce and his business partner, who was also a former romantic partner, Stefano Gabbana are entitled to their opinions on these issues, the two erred in presenting and supporting these comments without explanation while representing their shared company.
Dolce spoke against non-traditional parenting following a runway show where the models carried children and were obviously pregnant women, according to The Washington Post. “We oppose gay adoptions. The only family is the traditional one. … No chemical offsprings and rented uterus: Life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed,” Dolce said in Italian.
Upon hearing the translated version of this, John was outraged considering he has two children born from a surrogate via IVF with husband David Furnish, according to NPR. He had a right to be upset. However, Dolce had a right to say what he did, too.
It seems strange that Dolce, an openly gay man, would so strongly oppose these alternative childbearing methods, but he’s also not typically a gay rights activist. Dolce does not support marriage equality either, according to Rolling Stone. However, the issue of IVF, with which Doce disagrees, is not just a gay rights issue.
Other couples, many of whom are straight, turn to IVF as a way to conceive. IVF has helped people all over the world. It is a relatively new method in science, though, and it makes sense that some would be hesitant to get on board with something that only a few centuries ago likely would have been misappropriated to witchcraft or something of the sort. Change can be frightening, but Dolce is a grown man and he is one of the faces of the major design brand.
Dolce should have utilized a higher level of restraint in how he spoke about such a sensitive issue if he had wanted to avoid the negative repercussions of his words for the company. That’s why John is completely in the right to be upset over Dolce’s words that Gabbana supported. John expected more from this fashion icon. It’s fair to expect that a business owner wouldn’t judge you or speak poorly of you or others who just wanted to have a family despite the function or combination of reproductive parts in the relationship. Dolce and Gabbana both failed many of their customers, including John, in this regard.
This is why John’s social media campaign, which may have seemed like a bit of an overreaction at first considering Dolce didn’t specifically mention him, is actually justified. Dolce may not have targeted John intentionally, but he did target John’s family style and thus John himself.
The campaign has drawn average citizens and celebrities alike to boycott D&G products. Many celebrities, such as Ricky Martin and Courtney Love, have tweeted their support to John and joined in boycotting the company. What many of John’s social media supporters fail to realize, however, is that nothing Dolce said is inherently hateful; it is his unpopular opinion on a controversial topic, and it is not the idea itself that people should be upset with. Rather, it is that Dolce was representing the company when he said these things, not himself. That is why it was a stroke of brilliance for John to not only publicize the issue further, but to do so through boycotting their products. Dolce is entitled to his opinion, but he is also entitled to a financial downswing because people no longer wish to buy products from someone with this opinion. In business, especially when you represent your company, it may just be better to keep your mouth shut.
Gabbana hilariously attempted to boycott John in return with a misspelled hashtag, but this campaign has been far less successful, according to Rolling Stone. It is unlikely Dolce realized just how many people he insulted with his words. The strong, mainly negative, response to his comments may have prompted the slight clarifications that both Dolce and Gabbana made in separate statements. Dolce’s statement explained his reasoning for thinking the way he does about IVF and gay adoptions, and both statements clarified that neither man intends to judge others for their choices and that they believe in freedom and love regarding these choices, according to The Washington Post. It seems as if Dolce and Gabbana simply want to quell the negativity toward their brand.
In the initial comments, Dolce stated what he believes: that IVF and gay adoptions are wrong. Just by saying that it is fine for people to choose what they want shouldn’t convince customers that he is totally cool with these processes. Dolce may have explained his opinions, but they are still his opinions. If customers are in fact boycotting D&G as part of John’s campaign because of the co-founders’ views on IVF and gay adoptions, then this statement should not change anything. Dolce and Gabbana represented themselves and their brand with these comments and they must now suffer the backlash of their publicized opinions.
Becca Turner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.