Never one to shy away from a bit of controversy, Italian youth fashion brand Diesel has come under fire after a controversial campaign – that featured a jacket emblazoned with the word “f@ggot” – backfired, leading to accusations of homophobia.
As reported on B&T in mid-September, Diesel unveiled a new campaign called “Hate Couture” featuring a flotilla of stars that included Nicki Minaj, Gucci Mane, Bella Thorne and Tommy Dorfman and played on social media hate each of the clebs had suffered. Check out the accompanying TVC below:
In the campaign, each celebrity chose some of the worst comments they’d received, and Diesel designed exclusive items for each of them. Nicki Minaj was dubbed “The Bad Guy.” Gucci Mane was told “Fuck You, Imposter”. Bella Thorne was named a “Slut.” And Dorfman, best known for his role as Ryan Shaver in 13 Reasons Why, chose the word “f@ggot” after copping homophobic abuse online.
Diesel since turned the slur into a satin bomber jacket that is now retailing in the UK and online for £350 ($A630).
However, Twitter users are none too impressed that the fashion label has chosen to commercialise a slogan that is highly offensive to homosexual men.
“This is disgusting from @DIESEL. Are offensive words fashion now? #homophobia this can’t be allowed,” one person wrote.
Another added: “Seriously? I don’t need to waste £350 to increase my risk of getting queer bashed, thanks @DIESEL. People experience that for free every single day. Also, did I miss the memo about the gays reclaiming that word? No, I did not.”
Another non-fan wrote: “Please tell me this is a joke. I get the message you’re trying to convey but as a gay and a long time customer of Diesel, I’m appalled at this! @DIESEL.”
However, a Diesel spokesperson defended the garment and the entire campaign.
“Diesel strongly feels that bullying is one of the critical issues of our times,” it said in a statement. “Bullying in all forms effects millions worldwide and we are committed to using our platform to raise awareness for this issue.
“Creating Hate Couture our aim has always been to disempower those that create the hate and manifest negativity.
“To bring awareness to the wider issue, each celebrity that took part to the campaign was brave enough to choose a real comment they got online to wear proudly with the goal of empowering others to take a stance. Because the more hate you wear the less you care.
“Nicki Minaj was dubbed “The Bad Guy.” Gucci Mane was told “F*** You, Imposter.” Bella Thorne was named a “Slut.” And, Tommy Dorfman was called “F****t.”
“We hope that people will wear the collection with pride, owning the hate and battling against negativity. We have donated a portion of sales from Hate Couture together with OTB Foundation to the Ali Forney Center (a charity selected by Tommy Dorfman) whose mission is to protect LGBTQ youths from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently,” the spokesperson said.