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Balenciaga pulls controversial ad: Apologize after consumers disapprove ‘sexualizing’ children shoot

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High-end luxury fashion brand Balenciaga pulls a controversial ad campaign, which features two little girls holding teddy bears that look to be outfitted with BDSM-style harnesses.

On Tuesday, Balenciaga apologized and pulled its recent holiday campaign photographing kids with BDSM-styled teddy bears which received the public’s wrath. Children were shown in the series of commercials carrying the company’s “plush bear bags,” with bondage gear. Another advertisement for their “hourglass bag featured purposely poorly hidden court documents from a child pornography case.

Balenciaga Pulls Controversial Ad 1

Earlier this week, Balenciaga sparked backlash for a holiday ad campaign featuring photos of young kids holding teddy bears dressed in bondage gear including fishnet tops, collars with locks, and ankle/wrist restraints. 

Since its first appearance, the brand came under fire and the public did not hold back. #balenciaga is still trending on Twitter after a week and was also remained the top trend on Google.

Apology

The brand apologized for any offense caused by the advertisements showing young children holding teddy bears, which many people online criticized as “disgusting” and “over-sexualized,” 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.”

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Two hours later, Balenciaga issued a second apology after it was discovered that documents from what appeared to be court documents for a contentious case involving child pornography were on a table in another of their advertisements.

Balenciaga Campaign Apology

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 the abuse of children in any form. We stand for children’s safety and well-being.”

The brand recently left Twitter, as reported by Mary Morgan, host of the YouTube program “Pop Culture Crisis,” who speculated that the decision might have been motivated by Elon Musk’s new role as CEO, who recently declared that combating child exploitation on the platform will be his primary focus.

“Balenciaga recently dropped off of Twitter, and it’s highly suspicious as they just dropped an ad campaign featuring children holding teddy bears in bondage gear and a poorly hidden court document about virtual child pornography,” she wrote to Fox News Digital

Balenciaga facing Twitter’s wrath

Twitter users immediately criticized the company’s ignorance and insensitivity. Some also criticized a promotional image for a handbag that appeared to contain a passage from United States v. Williams (2008), a case in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a part of a federal child pornography law.

One Twitter user wrote; 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.

https://twitter.com/shoe0nhead/status/1594532715126202368

Shortly after Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in October, the brand quit Twitter on November 15 but is still active on Instagram.

Celebrities in questions

Others questioned whether brand ambassador Kim Kardashian would join in the campaign to criticize it. The reality star has remained silent thus far. Bella Hadid, a model who has previously collaborated with Balenciaga, has since removed her recent Instagram post endorsing the brand.

‘I wonder if celebrities like Kim Kardashian, who is a mom that wears Balenciaga often, will condemn this disgusting campaign…’ a fan wrote.

Kim Kardashian

Kim’s photo was shared on Reddit, with fans taking a chance to react.

Fans on Twitter have demanded that these celebs speak out, as one person wrote, “Where are the moral outrage? Where are the celebrities condemning this? Balenciaga wants to “shock and delight” but this is not it. @KimKardashian @kanyewest @TheView @DUALIPA #NicoleKidman #BellaHadid @NaomiCampbell @KrisJenner.”

Balenciaga Celebrities

Another expressed disappointment and shared, “#balenciaga should be ASHAMED of themselves and all those who represent them! Like @KimKardashian and Bella Hadid!!”

One person called out model Bella Hadid, writing, “Interesting how Bella Hadid loves to play the activist but hasn’t said a phrase about the Balenciaga incident. I’m sorry but what..??? Girl where are you, speak tf up.”

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