Balenciaga continues to face intense online scrutiny in the wake of the scandal surrounding its controversial ad campaign featuring children.
Launched on November 16, the brand’s gift collection campaign featured children posing with plush bear purses wearing clothes seemingly inspired by themes of bondage and BDSM.
Similarly, the company’s Spring 2023 campaign consisted of a photo showing a printout of a 2008 Supreme Court ruling on child p*rnography. As the campaigns went viral online, Balenciaga earned immediate backlash for its actions.
The brand later issued an apology, took accountability for the situation and removed the campaigns from all its platforms. However, netizens continued to call out the fashion house for its decision and shared multiple conspiracy theories surrounding its operations.
More recently, social media users have researched the meaning of the brand’s name and discovered that Google translates the term “Balenciaga” to “do what you want,” which reportedly means “Do as though wilt” in Latin.
One Twitter user mentioned that the Latin phrase “do as though wilt” was allegedly a decree of the satanist Aleister Crowley. Meanwhile, another added that it was used by satanic occultists who believed in the Thelema philosophy which was founded by Crowley.
While theories continue to pour in online, Balenciaga mentioned in its statement that the company “strongly condemns child abuse” and featuring children in their campaign was a “wrong choice” combined with the “failure in assessing and validating images.”
A look into Aleister Crowley satanic theory in relation to Balenciaga controversy
Aleister Crowley was an English occultist, Satanist, ceremonial magician, poet, novelist, painter, and mountaineer. He was the founder of the religion of Thelema, an occult practice or social philosophy, and was dubbed by the media as the “Wickedest Man in the World,” and a “Master of Darkness.”
Crowley was born to an evangelist father in 1875 and grew up in a devout Christian setting. However, he began defying Christianity following his father’s death when he was just 11 years old.
He eventually started embracing activities like smoking, having physical relationships, and pointing out inconsistencies in the Bible. He was referred to as “the Beast” by his own mother. Crowley adopted the name Aleister in 1895 shortly before enrolling at Cambridge University.
While he performed well in college, Crowley started exploring the world of the occult. Following the end of his college life, he started writing and publishing occult literature and later joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn order to study occult and paranormal activity.
However, Crowley was eventually restricted from joining the order of higher-level members of the Golden Dawn for his practices. After traveling to places like Mexico, Japan, Hong Kong, Ceylon, and India, he eventually settled in Paris in 1902 and later married his first wife Rose.
Reports suggest that Crowley’s wife told him that the Egyptian god Horus was waiting for him. This led to the former claiming that he heard the voice of Aiwass, the personal messenger of Horus, while meditating in 1904.
Shortly after, Crowley transcribed The Book of the Law based on messages from Aiwass and Horus. The book later became the basis of Crowley’s new religion, Thelema. The motto of the religion read “do what thou wilt,” or do as you want, a principle strongly embraced by Crowley.
By 1920, Crowley had moved to Sicily and established his headquarters, known as the Abbey of Thelema. The occultist and his followers allegedly practiced several bizarre rituals at the venue. The headquarters was eventually closed after Mussolini’s government banned Crowley from Italy.
Aleister Crowley died at the age of 72 in 1947 and his funeral was dubbed as the “Black Mass.” Several years after his death, Crowley’s name is still mentioned in the dark pages of British history.
In the wake of Balenciaga’s controversial child ad campaign and rising conspiracy theories surrounding the brand, several social media users pointed out that the term “Balenciaga” means “do as though wilt” in Latin, as per Google translate, which is similar to the motto of Crowley’s Thelema.
Several users also noted that Lotta Volkova has allegedly posted about Satanism, cannibalism, blood rituals, and child abuse, on her now-private Instagram account. Volkova was an in-house fashion stylist for Balanciaga and is a close friend to the brand’s creative director Demna Gvasalia.
Another social media user also pointed out multiple dark symbolisms from Balenciaga’s child ad campaign in a viral TikTok video. In one of the images, featuring a young boy, a “child’s drawing of the devil” has been displayed over a shelf behind the boy’s left shoulder.
The user alleged that the boy’s red trainers also appeared to be looking like “the devil staring you in the face.” The video further pointed a “random black hood” on the floor with a candle on the opposite end “resembling a Satanic cult” and the word “Baal” spelled out on yellow Balenciaga tape.
Baal is known as an ancient fertility god who was worshiped by some Middle Eastern communities, especially the Canaanites, who were allegedly involved in child sacrifice.
Some users also noted that the Balenciaga’s Spring 2023 campaign featured a photo of a book by Belgian painter Michael Borremans. The book reportedly had images from his Hong Kong exhibition called Fire From The Sun.
The paintings reportedly features children and has been described as “toddlers engaged in playful but mysterious acts with sinister overtones and insinuations of violence."
As conspiracy theories continue to pour in online, it remains to be seen if Balenciaga will further respond to the controversy in the days to come.
As of now, the brand has mentioned that it will to work with organizations that “specialise in child protection” and aim to end “child abuse and exploitation” and also ensure that their “new controls mark a pivot” that will prevent a similar controversy in the future.