Why are people mad at Balenciaga? Child ad photo controversy explained as cancel calls grow louder

Balenciaga has wiped clean all their social media accounts. (Image via Jeremy Moeller/Getty, @OliLondonTV/Twitter)
Balenciaga has wiped clean all their social media accounts. (Image via Jeremy Moeller/Getty, @OliLondonTV/Twitter)

Spanish luxury fashion brand Balenciaga has come under fire for their latest Spring/Summer 2023 collection that showed two kids posing with teddy bears wearing BDSM-style bond*ge gear.

Several photos from the campaign also showcased the two young children standing on beds, with one photo reportedly featuring court documents from a child s*xual abuse case.

On November 22, Balenciaga took to its Instagram story to apologize to the public after facing severe backlash on social media for "messing with children."

“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.”

Two hours later, the company issued another statement on its Instagram story, where they apologized 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 safety and well-being.”

Even after they issued an apology, they have been feeling the public's wrath, who are asking why the brand has not been canceled like Kanye West and Kyrie Irving, who have faced a career downfall with suspensions and severed business ties. The criticism has also included celebrities like Kim Kardashian for staying silent.

The campaign pictures have since been removed from the company's website and social media.


Twitter reactions on Balenciaga's problematic campaign

As mentioned above, the Spanish luxury brand was slammed online for its new campaign as people vowed not to forgive Balenciaga for their problematic presentation.

Even conservative commentators chimed in on the backlash, accusing the brand of hosting "groomers" and "s*xualizing children" while creating child p*rn.


Balenciaga's campaign photographer was not in a position to command

Balenciaga's Spring/Summer 2023 collection, shot by photographer Gabriele Galimberti, showed young children clothed in the brand's kids line.

In a statement issued to CNN on November 23, Galimberti discussed the public backlash and stated that the campaign's direction and shooting were not under his control.

“I am not in a position to comment (on) Balenciaga’s choices, but I must stress that I was not entitled in whatsoever manner to neither chose (sic) the products, nor the models, nor the combination of the same."

As per the press release issued last week, the brand's new campaign is an exploration of what people give and receive as gifts. The line showcased several new products, from homeware to limited-edition collectibles.

In his statement, Galimberti stated that his job for the campaign was only to manage the lights on the set and take pictures in his signature style.

“As usual, the direction of the campaign and of the shooting are not on the hands of the photographer. I suspect that any person prone to paedophilia searches on the web and has unfortunately a too easy access to images completely different than mine, absolutely explicit in their awful content. Lynching like these are addressed against wrong targets, and distract from the real problem, and criminals.”

In the midst of facing backlash, the company has removed its Twitter handle and also wiped off its Instagram handle. But that hasn't stopped people from accusing the brand of allegations of promoting child abuse and grooming young kids.

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