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Modern family values clash for Elton John and Dolce & Gabbana

16th March 2015 - Maire Connor
It all began when the long-time business partners Dolce and Gabbana – who are both gay and were previously in a relationship for more than two decades before breaking up in 2005 – announced that they opposed gay adoptions, telling the magazine that Lunica famiglia è quella tradizionale (the only family is the traditional one). The pair have previously expressed disapproval of same-sex marriages. Describing children born through IVF or surrogacy as synthetic they said: No chemical offspring and rented uterus: life has a natural flow, there are things that should not be changed.Elton John hit back at them via visual social medium Instagram, growling: How dare you refer to my beautiful children as synthetic? And shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfil their dream of having children. He then called for a boycott on Dolce & Gabbana products, launching the Twitter hashtag #BoycottDolceGabbana. He described the designers thinking as archaic and, rather pointedly, out of step with the times, just like your fashions.

John has two sons, Zachary and Elijah, with husband David Furnish. Both children were conceived via IVF with the aid of a surrogate mother. Domenico Dolce criticised both practices, claiming they amounted to: Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalogue. They endorsed the idea of a traditional family with a heterosexual couple at its head: You are born to a mother and a father – or at least thats how it should be.

Condemnation of Dolce and Gabbanas views has spread like wildfire through the entertainment industry, with the likes of Courtney Love, Martina Navratilova and Ricky Martin backing Elton Johns boycott, culminating in Hollywood TV producer Ryan Murphy, of Glee and American Horror Story fame, lambasting the designers comments as ugly. He has declared not only that he will not wear Dolce & Gabbana himself but that he will not use their designs in any of his productions, urging other producers to adopt this stance. Victoria Beckham has taken Elton Johns side, despite now being a leading figure in the fashion world. With such strong opinions being expressed on hot-button issues, this feud looks set to run and run.

The two designers have since attempted to clarify their views, releasing statements. Dolce said that while he comes from a traditional family, it does not imply that I dont understand different ones. Stefano Gabbana has said in a statement: it was never our intention to judge other peoples choices. We do believe in freedom and love.

However, Gabbana has also now countered the criticism by creating the hashtag #boycotteltonjohn. This has received some support but it seems that Elton has the upper hand: the BBC is reporting that his boycott campaign hashtag had, at time of writing, featured in 30,000 tweets, dwarfing the competition from the designers whose hashtag had only racked up around 1,500 tweets. The modern family and its attendant technologies are certainly winning out so far; a ringing endorsement of the changing times. It is worth noting, however, that some of the hashtag users are calling for a boycott of the boycotts, a few of them in the name of #FreeSpeech.


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