Elton John Calls for Boycott Against Dolce & Gabbana, Designers Respond

An interview revealing the designers' opposition to non-traditional families has ignited a controversy across social media, with both sides firing back.
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Dhani Mau
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An interview revealing the designers' opposition to non-traditional families has ignited a controversy across social media, with both sides firing back.
Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce at the Dolce & Gabbana fall 2015 show. Photo: Pietro D'Aprano/Getty Images

Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce at the Dolce & Gabbana fall 2015 show. Photo: Pietro D'Aprano/Getty Images

Over the weekend, Elton John called out Italian designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana for comments they made in an interview with Italy's Panorama magazine in support of "traditional" families, a subject that likely came up in response to the designers' fall 2015 runway show, which celebrated motherhood. "You are born to a mother and a father. Or at least that's how it should be," Dolce said in the interview. "I call children of chemistry 'synthetic children.' Rented wombs, semen chosen from a catalogue... psychiatrists are not ready to confront the effects of this experimentation."

"How dare you refer to my beautiful children as 'synthetic,'" John, who has two sons with his husband David Furnish, wrote on Instagram Sunday. "And shame on you for wagging your judgemental [sic] little fingers at IVF - a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil [sic] their dream of having children. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana."

The hashtag caught on with celebrities including Courtney Love, Ricky Martin and Victoria Beckham. Gay rights groups and droves of other supporters also voiced their support for John on social media.

It makes sense that John, and other parents of IVF children, would take offense at the designers' narrow-minded comments, but Dolce and Gabbana, who are both openly gay, have been more defensive than apologetic. "We firmly believe in democracy and the fundamental principle of freedom of expression that upholds it," Gabbana said in a statement in response to the boycott. "We talked about our way of seeing reality, but it was never our intention to judge other people's choices. We do believe in freedom and love."

Dolce had this to say: "I'm Sicilian and I grew up in a traditional family made up of a mother, a father and children. 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. That is the place where I learnt the values of love and family. 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."

Gabbana has also posted no less than 50 Instagrams responding to the boycott, most of which are in Italian. The gist seems to be that he has the right to express his opinion.

Just as those who disagree have the right to boycott the brand's products.

Dolce and Gabbana are not the first famous designers to speak out against non-traditional families. Karl Lagerfeld has said publicly that he is against gay couples adopting children.