Well, that escalated quickly. Dolce & Gabbana is suing industry watchdog account Diet Prada for defamation in relation to the 2018 #DGLovesChina campaign and fashion show that was met with serious controversy over allegations of racism.
In early 2019, Dolce & Gabbana filed an action for defamation of civil court in Italy, accusing Diet Prada of costing them revenue and other opportunities for reporting on the incident. The suit demands damages of 3 million euros for Dolce & Gabbana and another 1 million euros for Stefano Gabbana himself. Tony Liu and Lindsey Shcuyler, the founders of Diet Prada, filed a defense of their freedom of speech.
Liu and Schuyler are being represented pro bono by The Fashion Law Institute, which has partnered with Italian law firm AMSL Avvocati for the case. Fashion Law Institute Founder Susan Scafidi said that Dolce & Gabbana was “forum shopping” by filing the lawsuit in Italy because of the difference in how countries approach freedom of speech issues. U.S. law has more leniency for freedom of the press.
Diet Prada’s defense says that due to the company’s international structure that neither the Italian company or Gabbana himself are entitled to damages. Dolce & Gabbana’s show was set to take place in China, the brand itself is based in Italy, and the majority of Diet Prada’s readership is in the U.S. and other primarily English speaking countries.
Dolce & Gabbana’s defense argues that the tone Diet Prada used in reporting the story was suited to Instagram, despite it sounded provocative. Dolce & Gabbana’s suit says that Diet Prada cost the company valuable celebrity partnerships with major figures like Kim Kardashian and Cardi B. According to NPR, the company’s brand ambassador in China cut ties with the company after the incident.
The multimillion dollar lawsuit Dolce & Gabbana filed is likely meant to intimidate Diet Prada from attacking them any further. Diet Prada is an independent platform with few revenue streams compared to the multi billion dollar enterprise that is Dolce & Gabbana.