“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.

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 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.

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.”

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.”

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