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Balenciaga apologizes for controversial ad due to child abuse accusations

Balendiaga apologizes after pulling an ad

Fashion designer Balenciaga issued an apology to the public after pulling its ad campaign showing two girls posing with teddy bears that appear to be wearing bondage-style harnesses

The ads were created to showcase Balenciaga’s spring/summer 2023 collection, which debuted at Paris Fashion Week this fall. They were shot by Gabriele Galimberti. 

Balenciaga controversial ad

Balenciaga apologizes via Instagram story

In addition to the S&M teddy bears, they also showed other inappropriate accessories that shouldn’t be around children, including a chain leash and a dog collar choker. 

“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” read a statement the company posted to their 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’s safety and well-being,” they stated. 

One Twitter commenter looked closely at the photo and found it to depict a “poorly hidden document about virtual child porn.” The document appeared to be an excerpt from the 2008 ruling United States vs. Williams which upheld penalties for sexual abuse of children and other forms of child abuse. 

Although the fashion brand promptly pulled the campaign from all channels, it continues to circulate via social media snapshots, causing a backlash to continue. 

“I thought people were trolling, but nope. It’s real. Maybe this is why Balenciaga left Twitter. They don’t want to be held accountable. Yes, these children are holding teddy bears dressed in bondage outfits,” one Twitter user noted.

However, their departure from the platform may be due to Elon Musk’s acquisition of it rather than the backlash the campaign is receiving. General Motors and Dyson also suspended their Twitter accounts after the platform changed hands.

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