Amidst Growing Backlash, Balenciaga Has Issued a Second Statement — and This Time, They’re Owning Up
Balenciaga has released an explanation of how documents that referenced child pornography made an appearance in their Spring ‘23 campaign.
The statement comes after the brand apologised for a disturbing photoshoot involving children, where they were seen holding teddy bears dressed in BDSM gear.
On Instagram, the brand began its statement by saying they “strongly condemn child abuse” and revealed that the inclusion of the offending papers was due to “a series of previous errors”.
“The first campaign, the gift collection campaign, featured children with plush bear bags dressed in what some have labelled BDSM-inspired outfits,” the statement said.
“Our plush bear beds and the gift collection should not have featured with children. This was a wrong choice by Balenciaga, combined with our failure in assessing and validating images. The responsibility for this lies with Balenciaga alone.”
“The second, separate campaign for Spring 2023, which was meant to replicate a business office environment, included a photo with a page in the background from a Supreme Court ruling ‘United States v Williams’ 2008, which confirms as illegal and not protected by freedom of speech the promotion of child pornography,” the statement continued.
“All items included in this shooting were provided by third parties that confirmed in writing that these props were fake office documents. They turned out to be real legal papers, most likely coming from the filming of a television drama.
“The inclusion of these unapproved documents was the result of reckless negligence for which Balenciaga has filed a complaint. We take full accountability for our lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background and we could have done things differently.”
The fashion house said that an investigation into the matter is currently ongoing, but in the meantime, they will be putting a plan in place to make sure something like this never happens again.
Balenciaga will also be working with organisations that aim to protect children. Aside from all of that, the brand has filed a $USD25 million ($AUD37.6 million) lawsuit against those they believe are responsible, including production company North Six and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins and his company.
A lot has gone down since the controversy came to light, with people from all over the world demanding answers.
Earlier in the week, Balenciaga apologised and removed the campaign from their website and social media profiles.
“We sincerely apologise for any offence our holiday campaign may have caused,” the two-part Instagram Story began.
“Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign. We have immediately removed the campaign from all platforms.
“We apologise 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.”
While Balenciaga has always been known to hover over dangerous territory, sexualising children to sell fashion is completely indefensible.