Celebrities from Elton John to Courtney Love and Ricky Martin lined up this weekend to support a boycott of Dolce & Gabbana following an interview in the Italian publication, Panorama, in which the designers were quoted dismissing children born by IVF as "synthethetic" and insisting that "the only family is the traditional one."
The speed of the campaign may have caught the designers by surprise, not least because they've made similar utterances in the past with little to no repercussions. In 2006, Stefano Gabanna told another Italian newspaper, "I am opposed to the idea of a child growing up with two gay parents. A child needs a mother and a father. I could not imagine my childhood without my mother."
So what's different this time? Social media for one thing, which has made it possible to mobilize the public in a cascading effect of Twitter outrage and viral petitions. Last year it was the Beverley Hills hotel that was subject to a boycott after the hotel's owner, Sultan Hassan al Bolkiah of Brunei annouced he would introduce Sharia law, which includes stoning for homosexuality, to the kingdom. Whether such campaigns are effective is almost beside the point; their purpose is to illuminate prejudice. To date, the Sultan has not backed down (although the hotel continues to come under fire), and Stefano Gabbana's response to the boycott was not to retreat, but to initiatie his own boycott - against Elton John, who he called a fascist in a message he left on the musician's Instagram.
Meanwhile, Courtney Love took things a step further by threatening to set fire to her Dolce & Gabbana wardrobe. "I just round up all my Dolce & Gabbana items and want to burn them," she tweeted on Sunday, sowing the seeds for a delicious Saturday Night Live parody in which wealthy celebrities build a pyre of their expensive Italian duds.
Others who joined the Twitter tirade over the weekend included Ryan Murphy ("Their clothes are as ugly as their hate") and Ricky Martin ("ur voices R 2powerfull 2B spreading so much h8"). No word yet from Madonna, with whom the duo have enjoyed a long and unique relationship.
Update: Stefano Gabbana appeared to backtrack on Sunday evening, explaining out that he was speaking only for himself. "It was never our intention to judge other people's choices," he said. "We do believe in freedom and love. We firmly believe in democracy and the fundamental principle of freedom of expression that upholds it. We talked about our way of seeing reality, but it was never our intention to judge other people's choices."