ABC, CBS, and NBC's morning newscasts on Monday all touted the apparent "backlash" and "firestorm" against Italian fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana for their support for the traditional family and condemnation of in-vitro fertilization and surrogate motherhood. The programs all spotlighted how homosexual musician Elton John called for a boycott of the duo's label, and how multiple celebrities ran to his support. However, they didn't bother to quote from Dolce and Gabbana's supporters.
The morning shows never overtly identified the duo's homosexual orientation. NBC's Today merely stated that Dolcie and Gabbana "once appeared as a couple," while ABC's Good Morning America and CBS This Morning noted that the two were "romantic" or "romantically involved." ABC and NBC both pointed out Ricky Martin's support for Elton John, but neither disclosed his same-sex attraction. By contrast, CBS highlighted how "Martin, also a gay father, echoed Elton's statements." [video below]
On Today, NBC's Carson Daly zeroed in on the designers' "controversial comments," as he introduced correspondent Katy Tur's report on the issue. After using her "once appeared as a couple" line, Tur added that Dolce and Gabbana "have now gone on to seemingly trash surrogates, gay adoption, and IVF – calling the children of those 'chemical.' And not unexpectedly, this is drawing a lot of outrage, most notably from Sir Elton John."
The NBC journalist read excerpts from the duo's interview with an Italian magazine, as well as that of John's Instagram condemnation of the fashion designers. Besides citing Martin, Tur also noted blogger Perez Hilton's support for the musician's boycott, but failed to disclose the celebrities' homosexuality. Daly came back at the end of the correspondent's report and highlighted rocker Courtney Love's attack on Dolce and Gabbana. He also pointed out how many on Twitter "started sharing images celebrating children who were conceived through non-traditional methods."
On CBS This Morning, anchors Gayle King and Jeff Glor teased correspondent Vladimir Duthier's report by spotlighting how "designers Dolce and Gabbana [are] accused of being old-fashioned." King also pointed out that the pair "face a backlash and a boycott this morning." Duthiers added that "Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are accused of being unfashionably old-fashioned, to say the least. Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, who have two sons born using surrogacy, are calling for a boycott – accusing the two clothing icons of being hurtfully closed-minded."
The CBS correspondent played two soundbites from The Hollywood Reporter's Merle Ginsberg, who played up the negative reaction against the Italian duo. Ginsberg asserted that "in the fashion business, which is a heavily gay and female business, this is not a very smart thing to come out and say," and that "it's possible that they have done great damage to their brand."
At the end of the segment, King underlined, "They've opened up a real firestorm." Duthiers seconded Ginsberg's remarks: "I think that point made about working in the fashion industry, which has a lot of women, obviously, and lot of gays, is a bad comment to make – you know?" King added that Dolce and Gabbana's comments were "very surprising."
ABC's Reena Ninan pointed out the "fighting words between rock royalty and the dominating duo of fashion" on Good Morning America, and followed the lead of Tur on NBC:
REENAN NINAN (voice-over): ...In a story headlined, 'Viva the Traditional Family,' Dolce is quoted as saying, 'You were born and have a father and mother – or at least that's how it should be' – taking aim at children conceived via alternative methods, like surrogacy – saying, 'What I call children of chemistry, synthetic babies, do not convince me.'
Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were romantically involved for over 20 years. John, who has two young kids born with the help of a surrogate, posting a photo of the designers on Instagram, writing, 'How dare you refer to my beautiful children as synthetic. And shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at IVF; continuing, 'Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana'
Other celebs also weighing in – Ricky Martin Tweeting, 'Your voices are too powerful to be spreading so much hate.'
NINAN: At first, Gabbana not backing down – telling an Italian newspaper he was surprised by Sir Elton John's response: 'I did not expect it from a person who I believed – I underline, I believed – to be intelligent like Elton John. He is ignorant in the sense he ignores that there are different opinions to his, which are equally worthy of respect.'
But speaking out in a statement overnight to ABC News, Dolce saying, '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.' Gabbana adding, 'It was never our intention to judge other people's choices. We do believe in freedom and love.' For Good Morning America, Reena Ninan, ABC News, New York.
The full transcript of Katy Tur's report from NBC's Today and Vladimir Duthier's report from CBS This Morning on Monday:
07:31 am EST
NBC – Today
KATY TUR: Good morning, Carson. Quite a back and forth this weekend; and now, spilling into this morning – Dolce and Gabbana, who had once appeared as a couple on the cover of Vanity Fair – talking about wanting a family – have now gone on to seemingly trash surrogates, gay adoption, and IVF – calling the children of those 'chemical.' And not unexpectedly, this is drawing a lot of outrage, most notably from Sir Elton John.
TUR (voice-over): Dolce and Gabbana has dressed some of the world's top celebrities, from Angelina Jolie to Scarlett Johansson and Christian Bale. But the label is under the spotlight this morning, after Elton John called out the Italian fashion duo, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, for comments they made in an Italian fashion magazine, Panorama – where they're quoted as saying, 'You were born and you have a father and a mother – or it should be like this. That's why I am not convinced by chemical children, synthetic babies, wombs for rent.'
Elton John, who married longtime partner David Furnish last December, has two children – Zachary, 4; and Elijah, 2 – both born via a surrogate. He took to Instagram Sunday, writing, 'Shame on you for whacking your judgmental little fingers at IVF – a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfill 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.'
Matt [Lauer] spoke to Elton about his family last year.
ELTON JOHN: I'm happy. Listen, what more could I have? I got an incredible career. I have wonderful family.
TUR: Celebrities, like Ricky Martin and Perez Hilton – who have also used IVF – are expressing their support for the boycott.
As for Gabbana, he responded to the backlash on his Instagram; and now, in an Italian newspaper, saying, 'I didn't expect it from someone I considered as intelligent as Elton John. What? You preach understanding, tolerance; and then, you go on the attack because someone thinks differently than you? Is this a democratic way of thinking?'
TUR (on-camera): Now, Dolce and Gabbana, as a company, issued a statement, saying they never intended to pass judgment. And this morning, Gabbana defended freedom once again; defending his words; and defending Dolce, who he says grew up in a Sicilian and very traditional family, and who is entitled to his own ideas.
07:44 am EST
CBS This Morning
GAYLE KING: Fashion icons Dolce and Gabbana face a backlash and a boycott this morning. It comes after the designers' comments about traditional families. Now, the former couple says they oppose same-sex adoptions. They describe babies born through artifical insemination as 'synthetic.'
Vladimir Duthiers of CBSN is here with the celebrities who criticize the duo for being out of style. Vlad, good morning.
VLADIMIR DUTHIERS: Good morning. Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are accused of being unfashionably old-fashioned, to say the least. Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, who have two sons born using surrogacy, are calling for a boycott – accusing the two clothing icons of being hurtfully closed-minded.
DUTHIERS (voice-over): For decades, fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana have enjoyed a close relationship with celebrities – and with each other – continuing to work together after ending their romantic relationship ten years ago. But now, former fans are turning against them. In an interview with the Italian magazine Panorama, Dolce says, 'The only family is a traditional one;' and, 'I'm not convinced by those I call the children of chemicals; synthetic children; wombs for rent, sperm chosen from a catalogue.' Added Gabbana, 'The family is not a fad.'
MERLE GINSBERG, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER SENIOR STYLE WRITER: If you're working in the fashion business, which is a heavily gay and female business, this is not a very smart thing to come out and say.
DUTHIERS: Elton John, who is married to David Furnish, and has two children by in-vitro fertilization, responded via Instagram: 'How dare you refer to my beautiful children as synthetic. Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again.' He added a hashtag: 'BoycottDolceGabbana' Ricky Martin, also a gay father, echoed Elton's statements: 'Your voices are too powerful to be spreading so much hate. Wake up, it's 2015. Love yourselves, guys.'
The pair responded with an olive branch of sorts: From Dolce: 'I was talking about my personal view, without judging other people's choices and decisions.' And from Gabbana: 'It was never our intention to judge other people's choices. We do believe in freedom and love.'
GINSBERG: They have made several apologies now, but we know that these are their views. And it's possible that they have done great damage to their brand.
DUTHIERS (on-camera): Now, the pair were interviewed two years ago by The Telegraph, and they were asked if they had ever considered getting married. They responded, no – they don't believe in same-sex marriage.