Balenciaga ‘Takes Full Responsibility’ for Controversial Ad Campaigns

Balenciaga has issued a new statement regarding two separate ad campaigns that have been described as “disturbing” online. 

“We would like to address the controversies surrounding our recent ad campaigns,” begins the statement, which was published to Balenciaga’s Instagram account on November 28. “We strongly condemn child abuse; it was never our intent to include it in our narrative.”

The fashion house goes on to explain how the campaign images in question—one which features children posing with teddy bears wearing “BDSM-inspired outfits,” the other a copy of the Supreme Court decision in the United States v. Williams, which regards child pornography—came to be. Though third parties are mentioned, the brand admits a lack of oversight and judgment, and ultimately takes the blame.

“The two separate ad campaigns in question reflect a series of grievous errors for which Balenciaga takes full responsibility,” reads the statement.  

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The Spanish fashion house also outlined its plans for a path forward. 

“While internal and external investigations are ongoing, we are taking the following actions,” reads the post. “We are closely revising our organization and collective ways of working. We are reinforcing the structures around our creative processes and validation steps. We want to ensure that new controls mark a pivot and will prevent this from happening again.” 

The brand is also “laying the groundwork with organizations who specialized in child protection and aims at ending child abuse and exploitation.” 

The statement comes three days after Balenciaga sued North Six, Inc., the production company it hired for the campaign that featured the SCOTUS documents, along with set designer Nicholas Des Jardins and his LLC, for $25 million. 

Just last night, brand ambassador Kim Kardashian said she is “reevaluating” her relationship with the brand in light of the campaigns. Several other high-profile figures in the fashion world, including Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s go-to photographer, Misan Harriman, have also condemned the brand.


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