Italian designers Dolce and Gabbana on Monday have lashed back at Elton John’s call for a boycott of their brand, with Gabbana going so far as to call the signer-songwriter a “fascist,” and saying he acted in an ignorant and authoritarian way.
In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Gabbana expressed his astonishment at the way Elton John reacted to the designers’ comments.
“I didn’t expect this, coming from someone whom I considered, and I stress ‘considered,’ an intelligent person like Elton John,” Gabbana said.
“I mean, you preach understanding, tolerance and then you attack others?
“Only because someone has a different opinion? Is this a democratic or enlightened way of thinking? This is ignorance, because he is ignorant of the fact that others might have a different opinion and that theirs is as worthy of respect as his.
“It’s an authoritiarian way of seeing the world: agree with me or, if you don’t, I’ll attack you,” he said. “And I told him, on Instagram: fascist.”
Elton John called for the boycott after the designers stated their opposition to gay marriage and gay adoption. “The only family is the traditional one. No chemical offspring and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed,” they said.
“I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalog,” Gabbana added.
A journalist for the Italian version of Wired magazine was aghast at the disproportion between the designers’ comments and the vehemence of Elton John’s response, asking whatever happened to free speech: “Up to a few weeks ago, weren’t we all Charlie?” he wrote.
Another newspaper asked whether the passion of Elton John’s reaction didn’t suggest that perhaps he felt vulnerable on the question, after having rented a woman’s body so that he could have his own children.
Though Gabbana initially posted #boycotteltonjohn on John’s Instagram account, he later thought better of it.
“Beyond the momentary annoyance for an attack like this, it would be ridiculous,” he said. “Either you like somebody’s music or you don’t.”
“When I go to the fruit seller I don’t first ask him whether his ideas on in vitro fertilization coincide with mine. I just check to see whether the fruit is fresh,” he said.
Apparently in his heart of hearts, Elton John may agree. He was caught on camera in LA carrying a Dolce and Gabbana shopping bag just a day after he called for the worldwide boycott of their products.
The UK’s Daily Mail couldn’t help asking: “What about the boycott, Elton?”
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter: @tdwilliamsrome