Celebrities and other online shoppers have been expressing their displeasure following the recent happenings at the famous fashion house. Balenciaga has been accused of promoting child abuse and violence in their recent ad campaigns. Read on to know more about the Balenciaga Child Ad Scandal
How the Balenciaga Child Ad Scandal started
The trolling began in November 16, 2022 when Balenciaga posted the Gift Shop ad campaign on their Instagram page. The campaign featured children dressed in a bondage gear and holding a teddy bear and BDSM accessories. Reactions followed as people took to their social media handles to criticize the fashion house. A twitter user posted “I thought people were trolling, but nope. It’s real. Maybe this is why Balenciaga left Twitter. They don’t want to be held accountable. Yes, these are children holding teddy bears dressed in bondage outfits,”
Balenciaga released yet another ad campaign for their spring/summer 2023 collection in November 21, 2022. The ad contained a photograph of a Balenciaga handbag amid a child pornography Supreme court documents. This too sparked reactions from people as they term the campaign as one promoting child pornography and violence.
Kim Kardashian has also made a statement on November 27 concerning the issue. 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,” she also mentioned that she is currently reevaluating her future relationship with the brand. In her tweet she said “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 normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society — period.”
How Balenciaga reacted to the scandal
In response to the controversy, Balenciaga released two separate statements on their Instagram page on November 24, apologizing for the misconduct. The post read “We sincerely apologize for any offense 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,”
However, Gabriele Galimberti, the photographer, took to his Instagram to say that he had nothing to do with the campaign “I am not in a position to comment on Balenciaga’s choices, but I must stress that I was not entitled in whatsoever manner to neither chose the products, nor the models, nor the combination of the same. As a photographer, I was only and solely requested to lit the given scene, and take the shots according to my signature style.”
Reacting to the spring/summer campaign, the fashion house posted “We apologize for displaying unsettling documents in our campaign. We take this matter very seriously and are taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items for our spring 23 campaign photoshoot. We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for children’s safety and well-being.”
However, the set designer’s attorney has made a statement saying that Balenciaga representatives were present at the shoot, and handled the papers and props used. He made this statement following Balenciaga’s announcement of a legal action for $25 million against North Six and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins, the production company responsible for the advertisement with the child pornography court document. Balenciaga later withdrew the legal action on December 2.
We admire the way the Balenciaga Child Ad Scandal was handled. We hope that such incidence would not be repeated again. Child protection should be our utmost priority. We must all join hands to ensure that child safety is adhered to.