Horrible lessons to be learned from Dolce & Gabbana’s racial ad row

Then some crazy exchanges started making their appearance on social media, and on Diet Prada to be specific. (The latter is now calling for a credit for breaking the news on Women’s Wear Daily.) The exchanges were deleted and D&G maintains it is fake news, like the story that the Chinese government stepped in to cancel the show.

The truth is probably something in between. A bit like the futurist fog I sat in this afternoon, with sudden insights coming in and out of view as it cleared momentarily. The internet is a powerful tool – no wonder the Chinese government try to curtail it.

Everyone should view this story with a sense of foreboding and a pinch of salt. There is no excuse for racism, there is no excuse for rabble rousing, there is no excuse for fake news. In the end everyone pays.

The cost? Something beautiful that got eliminated unceremoniously under the weight of the world’s most contemporary problem, social media. What is free speech, who gets to practise it? Who gets called on it? Who has the right to call it?  If we learn anything from today it is that we should all be asking these questions, all the time, of everyone and everything we read.

Look out for ‘Fear and Clothing’, Aspasia Karras’ column on the foibles and charms of fashion on Time Select every Thursday.

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