“They can't sorry their way out of this”: Balenciaga ripped over statement on campaign scandals as boycott calls grow

Balenciaga issued an official statement addressing their latest controversial ad campaigns (Image via Balenciaga and Getty Images)
Balenciaga issued an official statement addressing their latest controversial ad campaigns (Image via Balenciaga and Getty Images)

Balenciaga recently took to social media to issue a new statement on the latest scandals surrounding their controversial ad campaigns.

The company came under fire for their gift collection campaign that featured children. The children were seen posing with the brand’s plush bear purses wearing outfits that some critics pointed out to be based on the themes of BDSM and bondage.

The luxury fashion house faced further scrutiny over a second ad for its Spring 2023 campaign that consisted of a photo featuring a printout of a Supreme Court ruling on child p*rnography.

BALENCIAGA should never be forgiven ever. Their kids campaign has dozens of sick references that are so obvious. So many dark symbolism. Truly unforgivable and criminal. Balenciagas executives must be held accountable! #balenciaga #BalenciagaGate #BalenciagaGroomers

In their official statement, Balenciaga addressed both the issues and said that the company “strongly condemns child abuse” and never intended to include the same in their narrative. The brand also took responsibility for its actions and said:

“The two separate ad campaigns in question reflect a series of grievous errors for which Balenciaga takes full responsibility.”

The company added that the controversial gift collection campaign featuring children was a “wrong choice” combined with the “failure in assessing and validating images.”

It also confirmed that responsibility for the issues lies with the company alone. Speaking on the second issue surrounding the Supreme Court printout, the brand said that the theme was supposed to “replicate a business office environment.”

However, it acknowledged that the photo featured a page in the background with a printout of the 2008 “United States vs. Williams” ruling. The ruling declared that child p*rnography as illegal and not protected by freedom of speech.

Balenciaga just released a statement about their latest campaigns. The documents included in the office shoot were provided by third parties that claimed they were fake props. Balenciaga has filed a complaint against them for the inclusion of these unapproved documents.

Balenciaga went on to clarify that the items used in the second campaign were provided by third parties “that confirmed in writing that these props were fake office documents.” However, these later turned out to be “real legal papers most likely coming from the filming of a television drama.”

The brand also mentioned that the inclusion of the “unapproved documents” was the result of “reckless negligence." Balenciaga also stated that it has filed a complaint for the same while taking full responsibility for the situation. The brand said:

“We take full accountability for our lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background and we could have done things differently.”

Although Balenciaga publicly acknowledged the controversial situation, social media users were far from impressed. Some also mentioned that the brand cannot handle the situation with a simple apology and public address:

Netizens reaction (1/1) (Image via Instagram)
Netizens reaction (1/1) (Image via Instagram)

The latest statement comes after the company filed a $25 million lawsuit over the campaign against production company North Six Inc. and agent Nicholas Des Jardins. The suit was filed for “inexplicable acts and omissions” that were “malevolent or, at the very least, extraordinarily reckless.”

Twitter reacts to Balenciaga’s statement on controversial ad campaigns

Balenciaga's statement on controversial ad campaigns leaves netizens far from impressed (Image via Getty Images)
Balenciaga's statement on controversial ad campaigns leaves netizens far from impressed (Image via Getty Images)

Balenciaga has recently faced immense backlash over their controversial ad campaigns featuring children and using props containing a printout of an actual Supreme Court ruling.

While the brand acknowledged the situation in light of the scandal and took responsibility for its actions, the official statement left netizens far from impressed. Several social media users also took to Twitter to call out the company for the statement amid growing calls to boycott the brand online.

y’all this apparent statement from Balenciaga is…. 😂
#Balenciaga latest statement. They shouldn’t be allowed to recover from this. You can’t publish child abuse material and promote pedophilia and fix it simply by taking accountability. The only right course is for them to be investigated just like any other person would be
Balenciaga and the photographer involved called Gabriele Galimberti issued a statement following the disastrous shoot, and guess what, both are refusing to accept responsibility and blaming each other. 🙄 If you are still wearing them, you are part of them. #CancelBalenciaga
So Balenciaga realised a new statement saying that "reviewing measures" and suing ad agencies. They basically want to do business as usual and want us to stop talking about them. I know they hate this!!! Please dont stop. Protect our innocent children 🙅🏾‍♀️🚫#BalenciagaGate
That Balenciaga statement is whatever but the part that got me was, “We are laying the groundwork with organizations who specialize in child protection and aims at ending child abuse and exploitation.”
Balenciaga isn't upset bc what happened they're upset bc they got caught. Big difference
Balenciaga making a statement like they didn’t know what they were implying
Balenciaga has issued this statement. I'm sorry but you knew what you were doing when you did it. It was your full intention to do so. Taking it down and deleting it isn't going to help you. You are disgusting, nasty, and not worth the money! You're done! #cancelbalenciaga
Balenciaga is going to have to announce a new creative team in 2023. To me, this scandal could mark the end of the Demna chapter. I don’t see any other way around it, but again that’s my personal opinion. Not a factual statement.

Prior to the latest statement, the brand also issued an apology over the ad campaigns and removed the controversial ad from all its platforms:

“We sincerely apologise 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.”

Meanwhile, brand ambassador Kim Kardashian said that she was “re-evaluating” her relationship with the brand based off “their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with.”

I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened.
As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images. The safety of children must be held with the highest regard and any attempts to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society — period.

Although Kardashian mentioned that she was “shaken by the disturbing images” as a mother, the reality star also said that she appreciates “Balenciaga’s removal of the campaigns and apology.”

Amid the ongoing outrage, Balenciaga also mentioned that it is “revising the organization” and “collective ways of working” as well as “reinforcing the structures” around their “creative processes and validation steps.”

I appreciate Balenciaga’s removal of the campaigns and apology. In speaking with them, I believe they understand the seriousness of the issue and will take the necessary measures for this to never happen again.
As for my future with Balenciaga, I am currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand, basing it off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with — & the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children.

The fashion house also noted that it wants to ensure that the “new controls mark a pivot” that will prevent a similar situation in the future, and is “laying groundwork” to work with organizations that “specialise in child protection” and aim to end “child abuse and exploitation.”

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Edited by Barsha Roy
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