Retailers often prohibit patrons from taking pictures inside stores, and they have every right to do that. But what about when someone wants to snap a pic of a storefront from the public street? Dolce & Gabbana has ignited a flurry of controversy in Hong Kong after the store’s security guards stopped onlookers from snapping photos from outside the store.
While Dolce & Gabbana reportedly claimed that it was just trying to protect its intellectual property, bigger issues of politics and even racism may be at the heart of the incident, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. Store security guards targeted and banned Hong Kong natives from snapping pics, but were allowing foreigners and mainland Chinese tourists to do click freely. This policy is what sparked the protests.
Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, and has its own system of government, which at this point is still fairly democratic. Cries of “racism against Hong Kongers” by the mainland Chinese has apparently been a growing issue. So when this incident occurred at the D&G store, Hong Kong natives reacted strongly, staging a protest outside of the store in question. To further feed the fires of outrage, the ban on photos may have been initiated by a VIP Chinese mainlander who didn’t want to be photographed buying luxury goods, due to a fear it may be linked to corruption, the WSJ is reporting. Newly flush Chinese mainlanders have been flocking to Hong Kong to shop at high-end stores, because there’s a lower tax rate there.
Dolce & Gabbana issued the following terse statement, according to the Standard, a Hong Kong-based English language paper: “We wish to underline that our company has not taken part in any action aiming at offending the Hong Kong public.” Hong Kong politicians have organized through Facebook and are insisting that the Italian company offer a proper apology.