High-end French fashion brand, Balenciaga, have issued an apology and pulled their recent holiday campaign, after it sparked major backlash on social media. The series of adverts featured children carrying the brand's 'plush bear bags', which are wearing S&M style harnesses. Another advert, for their 'hourglass bag' displayed documents from the Supreme Court related to child pornography cases.
In a statement posted to their Instagram Stories, the label apologised for causing any offence with the adverts featuring young children holding the bags, which many called 'disgusting' and 'over-sexualised' online, saying: "We sincerely apologize for any offense 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."
Two hours later, Balenciaga issued a second apology, after it was pointed out that on a table in another of their adverts, documents appearing to show court filings related to a controversial child pornography-related case were on display.
This second statement in full reads: "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 brand "Balenciaga" just did a uh..... interesting... photoshoot for their new products recently which included a very purposely poorly hidden court document about 'virtual child porn'
normal stuff pic.twitter.com/zjMN5WhZ0s
— shoe (@shoe0nhead) November 21, 2022
Commenting on the adverts, one Twitter user labelled the brand's approach to marketing as 'disgusting' and accused them of taking the 'shock factor' way too far. "I understand that a lot of Balenciaga’s marketing is the 'shock factor' of it all but this is just disgusting," they wrote.
Another called the brand out by writing: "the brand "Balenciaga" just did a uh..... interesting... photoshoot for their new products recently which included a very purposely poorly hidden court document about 'virtual child porn' normal stuff".
Others also questioned whether Kim Kardashian, an ambassador for the brand, will be speaking out on the campaign to condemn it. So far, the reality star has kept quiet. Model Bella Hadid, who has also worked with Balenciaga, has deleted her recent Instagram post promoting the label.
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