Balenciaga has apologised after sexualising children in its holiday campaign. The photos, which have since been deleted by the luxury fashion brand, reportedly showed children holding teddy bears that were wearing what seemed like bondage harnesses, according to multiple media outlets including Bloomberg, ABC News and The Independent UK.
The brand sincerely apologised on Instagram Stories for any offence caused by its holiday campaign. "Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in its campaign. We have immediately removed the campaign from all platforms," the brand said.
It also apologised for "displaying unsettling documents" in the campaign. Balenciaga explained that it takes this matter very seriously and is taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items for its Spring 2023 campaign photoshoot. "We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for children's safety and well-being," Balenciaga added.
Images of the campaign, however, have already begun circulating on social media platforms. One shows a child standing on the bed with a plush bear bag and being surrounded by other accessories and Balenciaga purses. Those items also include what seems to be a chain leash. Netizens have also called out Balenciaga for the ads, labelling them "disgusting" and calling the company "perverse" and "pedo sh*it".
At the same time, some social media netizens have also pointed out that one of the photos containing a purse contained what appears to be an excerpt from the US Supreme Court's opinion on United States vs Williams (2008). This opinion, according to ABC News, upheld part of a federal child pornography law. Separately, Balenciaga's Spring 2023 campaign features actresses Nicole Kidman and Isabelle Huppert as well as model Bella Hadid.
Balenciaga also came under the spotlight last month for dropping rapper Kanye West, now know as Ye. Ye had made antisemitic comments which resulted in the Kering-owned brand saying that it no longer has any relationship with the artist. Neither does it have any future plans or projects with Ye.
78-year old Squid Game actor Oh Young-soo goes viral as Balenciaga x Adidas model
Balenciaga and Vogue drop Kanye West after antisemitic comments
Balenciaga keeps with trashed theme with new bags
Salvation Army hijacks Balenciaga's destroyed sneaker look
Balenciaga causes viral Internet outrage for selling US$1,850 destroyed shoes