Balenciaga Withdraws Lawsuit Against Campaign Set Designer

Balenciaga Withdraws Lawsuit Against Campaign Set Designer

Updated 12/02/22: Balenciaga's President and CEO Cédric Charbit has released his first statement following the outrage over the brand's campaigns depicting children with BDSM teddy bears and court documents about child abuse.

In the statement, which was posted to Balenciaga's Instagram, Charbit outlined a series of objectives and actions the company plans to take, including an "image board" and agency to prevent this type of stuff from happening in the future.

He also noted that the company has decided not to pursue litigation. Balenciaga was criticized this week for suing Nicolas Des Jardins and North Six, the set designer and production company behind the campaign that included court documents of child abuse. Read the full statement below.

Balenciaga's creative director Demna has also broken his silence today. The designer posted an apology on his personal IG account for the campaign with children and bondage teddy bears, saying that it was never his intention to portray anything resembling to child abuse. Read his full statement, below.

Updated 11/28/22:Balenciaga has released an additional statement today over its controversial campaigns after they posted apologies on social media last week. In the statement, below, the company takes sole responsibility for the teddy bear campaign while blaming third parties for the use of props in another campaign, including the child abuse court case, for which it has filed a lawsuit.

Original 11/22:Balenciaga has broken their silence on a controversial campaign with children that went viral this past week.

The luxury brand issued an apology on Instagram stories today. "We sincerely apologize for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused," the post read. "Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign."

They added that images of the campaign have been removed from all of the brand's platforms.

The campaign, which was displayed on the Balenciaga's website and meant to highlight its gifting assortment, received backlash on social media when users noted that the children featured were posing with teddy bears dressed in bondage and BDSM gear, including fishnet tops, collars with lock and ankle/wrist restraints and leather chest harness.

The bear bags are from Balenciaga's October fashion show, which depicted models with makeup resembling heavy bruising.

The photos were taken by National Geographic photographer Gabriele Galimberti, known for his photographs of children and "Toy Stories" project and portfolio. Users were critical of Balenciaga for running the photos, with many pointing out the disturbing implications of the photoshoot.

"The kids don’t know it’s fetish gear but the adults seeing these pics sure do," one user wrote. "Balenciaga bringing pedo chic to the masses. Very on-brand for 2022," another commented.

The photos of the kids weren't the only images that raised eyebrows. In one image, which focused on a Balenciaga handbag next to a scattering of documents, one of the papers appeared to be from the 2008 Supreme Court case, United States v. Williams. The case involved a man named Michael Williams who posted messages offering to exchange child sexual abuse materials with other users.

Balenciaga addressed the document in a separate Instagram Story: "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 safety and well-being."

The apology comes just a few days after the brand deleted its Twitter account.

Screenshot via @Balenciaga Instagram Stories

Screenshot via @Balenciaga Instagram Stories

Photo via Getty


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