TORONTO — Designer Stefano Gabbana has admitted comments made by his business partner Domenico Dolce about the children of same-sex couples could hurt sales.
“Maybe. We’ll lose some Elton John fans,” he said. “Maybe we’ll get some more moms. Who knows?”
Elton John launched a social media campaign calling for a boycott of Dolce & Gabbana — using the hashtag #BoycottDolceGabbana — after Dolce appeared to criticize same-sex parents and the use of in vitro fertilization.
In an interview with Panorama magazine, one-time couple Dolce and Gabbana were asked if they would like to become fathers. Dolce replied: “I’m gay, I cannot have children.”
Dolce added that he believes “you are born to a mother and a father — or at least that’s how it should be. I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalogue.”
“It’s not a big deal,” Gabbana told Corriere della Sera, “It’s his opinion. He’s not comfortable with IVF. I have a different opinion. We have mutual respect.”
Dolce’s views outraged John, who has two children conceived through IVF and born via surrogate with his Canadian husband David Furnish.
“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,” John wrote on Instagram. “Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again.”
Singers Ricky Martin and Courtney Love, talk show host Andy Cohen, actor John Barrowman and tennis star Martina Navratilova are among the celebrities who joined the call for a boycott.
TV producer Ryan Murphy, who has two children with husband David Miller, said it’s not only a gay issue. “I know 10 women in my life who used IVF to conceive — and three doing it right now,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “IVF is a scientific miracle that helps loving families fulfill their dreams. It’s so ignorant of Doce and Gabbana to speak out with such ugly evil — what they said is a not-modern thing to say.”
In the Corriere della Sera interview, Gabbana said the attacks on D&G are “fascist.”
He said: “I wasn’t expecting it from a person like Elton John whom I considered — I underline considered — intelligent. You preach understanding, you preach tolerance and then you attack? Just because someone think differently [than] you?
“Is that supposed to be a democratic way of thinking? Enlightened? He’s ignorant, in the sense that he denies ways of seeing things that may not be his but are just as deserving of respect.”
Gabbana also started his own hashtag, #boycotteltonjohn. “I was annoyed for a moment. It would be ridiculous. Either you like somebody’s songs or you don’t,” he explained. “We are not boycotting and we will not boycott anyone.”
Journalist Piers Morgan called Dolce’s comments “inflammatory [and] insensitive” but said a boycott is not an effective reaction because it penalizes thousands of innocent people who earn livelihoods from the company.
“Dolce and Gabbana didn’t spew vile bigotry or advocate hate for gay couples who want children,” he wrote in the Daily Mail. “They just said they didn’t agree with it. Albeit using unfortunate, offensive phrases like ‘synthetic’ and ‘chemical’ to describe the IVF process. And that is their right, however unpalatable their view may seem to many of us.”
Famed fashion publicist Kelly Cutrone told Twitter followers she wanted to cut up her D&G clothes. She also tweeted a controversial Dolce & Gabbana advertisement from 2007. “I guess simulating gang bangs are fine — but IVF and same sex marriage are not – life according to @dolcegabbana”
In a statement, Dolce said: “I am very well aware of the fact that there are other types of families and they are as legitimate as the one I’ve known. But in my personal experience, family had a different configuration. This is the reality in which I grew up, but it does not imply that I don’t understand different ones. I was talking about my personal view, without judging other people’s choices and decisions.”
The designers are not without support. In an open letter published in Tempi, six people claiming to be children of gay parents thanked Dolce “for giving voice to something that we learned by experience.
“Every human being has a mother and a father, and to cut either from a child’s life is to rob the child of dignity, humanity, and equality.”
The group added: “We want to praise your courage and thank you for your inspiration. We also implore you not to surrender when the backlash grows in intensity.”
An image posted on Gabbana’s Instagram page on Monday displayed a simple message.
“6 + 3 = 9 but so does 5 + 4,” it reads. “The way you do things is not always the only way to do them.
“Respect other people’s way of thinking.”