Balenciaga found itself in the middle of a controversy after releasing its holiday campaign, which included a photoshoot with children holding teddy bears wearing BDSM-style harnesses.
A summary of the debate over Balenciaga’s “disturbing” advertisement and Kim Kardashian
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Many criticized the brand for its “creepy” advertisement, as well as Kim Kardashian, a frequent Balenciaga ambassador, urging her to make a statement.
The Balenciaga ads debuted last week to promote the brand’s holiday gift collection, which included dog harnesses and reusable coffee cups.
In one of the photos, nevertheless, a girl is holding a leather strap that is attached to a teddy bear that has a chain and padlock around its neck.
Another image shows Supreme Court documents related to child pornography cases.
the brand "Balenciaga" just did a uh….. interesting… photoshoot for their new products recently which included a very purposely poorly hidden court document about 'virtual child porn'
normal stuff pic.twitter.com/zjMN5WhZ0s
— shoe (@shoe0nhead) November 21, 2022
Many social media users have condemned the fashion brand for “sexualizing children,” and many have sold all of their Balenciaga items.
Got rid of all my Balenciaga this weekend. I loved that brand but no apology can ever be enough for what they let happen. Cancelled for good.
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) November 28, 2022
Balenciaga apologized on Instagram, writing, “We sincerely apologise for any offence our holiday campaign may have caused. Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign. We have immediately removed the campaign from all platforms.” The fashion brand has since deleted its entire Instagram feed, but the apology remains in its highlights.
Fans continued to ask Kim Kardashian, a frequent collaborator with Balenciaga, to speak out about the brand’s holiday campaign over the weekend.
Six days after the Balenciaga scandal broke, the Kardashian sister issued a statement.
In a tweet, she wrote: “I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened. As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images. The safety of children must be held with the highest regard and any attempts to normalise child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society – period.”
I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened.
— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) November 27, 2022
“I appreciate Balenciaga’s removal of the campaigns and apology. In speaking with them, I believe they understand the seriousness of the issue and will take the necessary measures for this to never happen again. As for my future with Balenciaga, I am currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand, basing it off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with – and the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children.”