Balenciaga $25 million lawsuit explained as brand sues producers over controversial children ad campaign

Balenciaga sues production company and set designer for reputational damage (image via Balenciaga)
Balenciaga sued production company and set designer for reputational damage on November 25 (Image via Balenciaga)

Balenciaga is suing the production company and set designer responsible for a recent ad campaign that featured some questionable themes.

The high fashion Spanish brand filed the necessary court documents on Friday, November 25, 2022.

Children posed with questionable items (image via Twitter)
Children posed with questionable items (image via Twitter)

Balenciaga faced severe backlash following the release of their Spring 2023 ad campaign, which featured images showing children playing with teddy bears dressed in bond*ge gear. They have since taken down the posts from their site and social media pages, along with issuing an apology.

Balenciaga ad scandal reportedly elicited severe hate mails

Balenciaga is suing the production company North Six, Inc. and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins for $25 million over the ad campaign showing young children posing with teddy bears that appear to be dressed in bond*ge gear.

The brand is seeking redressal for damage made to its reputation following the release of the ad showcasing its plush bear bags.

The now taken down controversial image from Balenciaga's ad campaign (Image via Balenciaga)
The now taken down controversial image from Balenciaga's ad campaign (Image via Balenciaga)

Last week, the brand took to Instagram Stories to apologize for the matter, claiming they took the issue "very seriously." It also announced that it would take legal steps against North Six Inc. as they had used unapproved items for the shoot.

“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," the brand wrote.

They further announced their stance on promoting child security and condemned the inferred themes in the images produced.

"We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for children safety and well-being.”
Another still from the campaign (Image via Twitter)
Another still from the campaign (Image via Twitter)

The court documents stated that North Six Inc. and Des Jardins used themes and prop items without informing Balenciaga, an act which they claimed was “malevolent or, at the very least, extraordinarily reckless.”

The papers also stated that this action has evoked the public and the media to falsely associate the brand with the "repulsive and deeply disturbing" themes on the subject in question.

It concluded that the "production company must be held responsible for all the harm" caused by the aforementioned association.

The problematic campaign originally featured dozens of new products such as homeware, pet ware, toys, and scents. The range also included everyday items and limited edition collectibles, along with bespoke furniture. The series was shot by photographer Gabriele Galimberti.

Balenciaga shifts blame to third-party production company, but netizens think it is equally responsible

@shoe0nhead Looks like the case mentioned in the slip opinion is Ashcroft v Free Speech Coalition. Although the full case name is obscured by other paper, in context that citation would make sense.

The luxury brand's ad campaign was received badly, with claims that the brand was promoting s*xualizing children for the sake of publicity. In addition to posing with teddy bears wearing bond*ge-inspired outfits, the children also posed with several empty wine glasses.

Moreover, there also seemed to be a poorly hidden document containing the Supreme Court details about virtual child p*rnography.

Though the Spanish brand have apologized and taken the post down, many netizens have not accepted the apology and are claiming that it was a publicity stunt. They also alleged that the campaign was approved by higher-ups and thus could not be a "mistake" or "oversight."

Balenciaga filing a 25M lawsuit against the agency that did that shoot is the biggest coverup I’ve ever seen. Y’all released the campaign… which means it was seen prior … BYE BALENCIAGA
balenciaga pretending to file a lawsuit against themselves for posting “unapproved photos”
Filing a 25 million lawsuit against the photographer for images Balenciaga approved on before posting them on social media is wild. This is literally disgusting and shows how Balenciaga is refusing to take accountability for their actions.
So, Balenciaga is filing a $25m lawsuit against the people behind ‘that’ ad. Considering Balenciaga themselves would have instructed, overseen, paid for, and most importantly… ‘approved’.. the advert before it went out, it will be a very interesting lawsuit indeed!
It is time for OUTRAGE over BALENCIAGA!!! Of course, THEY KNEW about every detail of that ad campaign. It requires approval at multiple levels. Their $25M lawsuit against the photographer is theater. PASS ALONG THIS STORY!!! PROTEST BALENCIAGA!!!
No accountability with Balenciaga. This is full on damage control. They have meetings where they brainstorm with the photographers. It’s a creative department. I don’t believe they are blaming a marketing agency. They knew. #Balenciaga #BalenciagaGate #Lawsuit #BalenciagaGroomers
The way Balenciaga is tackling with the recent issue shows how clients never take accountability of their actions. I mean how can you sue the creative people when somebody from your team approved the shoot & only then it went live? I hope they lose this lawsuit & learn a lesson.

Photographer Gabriele Galimbert has distanced himself from the campaign, claiming that he had no liberty over the choice of models, the problematic theme, or the combination of both.

He stated that he was assigned to light the given scene and hence he shot it according to "his signature style."

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Edited by Abhipsa Choudhury
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