Dolce & Gabbana has apologized and discontinued selling a sweater
that some consumers said resembles blackface because of its design.
In a Twitter post Thursday, the luxury brand said it "deeply
apologizes for the offense caused" by the item.
The top is a black turtleneck sweater that pulls up over the bottom half
of the face with a cutout and oversized red lips around the mouth.
"We can confirm that the item has been immediately removed from our
online store and all physical stores," Dolce & Gabbana said in
a statement on Thursday. "We are fully committed to increasing
diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a
powerful learning moment for the Dolce & Gabbana team and
It was the latest case of a fashion house having to apologize for
cultural or racial insensitivity -- and further evidence that Italy in
particular has a poor record with racial insensitivity staining
everything from fashion to soccer to politics.
In December, Italian designer Versace withdrew products after some items
displayed in a Manhattan storefront were seen as depicting blackface,
and said it was no longer selling a line of accessories that featured a
character with brown skin and exaggerated red lips.
And last year, Armani canceled a runway show and apologized after
promotional videos seen as racist created a furor. The ad campaign
featured a Chinese model trying to eat pizza, spaghetti and a cannoli
The D&G sweater had been slammed on social media, with Twitter users
saying it resembled blackface and expressing emotions ranging from
exasperation to outrage.
One user noted that the controversy was taking place during Black
History Month and expressed skepticism that it would stop people from
buying the brand.
The latest controversy also comes as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is facing
criticism and calls to resign because of a photograph on his page in his
high school yearbook showing one person in blackface and another in
a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood.
Hogan initially apologized for the photo, saying he was in it, without
specifying which person he was. He later denied he was in the yearbook
photo but admitted he had once dressed in blackface during a dance
Hogan met Wednesday with Congress of Racial Equality Chairman Niger
Innis in an effort to better understand how he can move past the scandal
that has engulfed his office.