Balenciaga apologizes for “depraved” kids ad campaign
In the ads, toddlers are seen clutching teddy bears dressed up in studded black leather bondage gear. One of the teddy bears even wears a metal choker with a lock finished with a B.
After the outcry, the Paris-based fashion house immediately deleted the campaign images, and then issued its apology on Instagram, notwithstanding the fact that Balenciaga recently exited that social media and deleted all its previous posts.
“We sincerely apologize 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,” wrote Balenciaga, a key fashion house within the Kering luxury empire.
In a further shocking image, one of the photos appeared to show a photocopy of an excerpt of a court document ruling on child pornography, igniting a firestorm of criticism via #BoycottBalenciaga. According to several commentators, this came from page 11 of a Supreme Court decision from 2008, when the court upheld a federal law prohibiting the distribution of child porn.
“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 2023 photo shoot. We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for children safety and well-being,” Balenciaga added in the Instagram post.
Founded by Cristobal Balenciaga, a Spanish monarchist, in 1919, Balenciaga has been since 2015 under the creative direction of Georgia-born designer Demna. Its current campaign which broke this week, features Nicole Kidman, Isabelle Huppert and Bella Hadid as modernist decision makers in New York high-rise office settings.
Acquired by the Kering group, then known as Gucci Group, in 2001, Balenciaga boasts estimated annual revenues of some €1.75 billion.
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