Balenciaga’s creative director apologizes for the controversial ad campaign

written by By Leah Asmlach, CNN

Balenciaga’s Creative Director Demna has issued a public apology for one of the fashion brand’s recent ad campaigns, which featured images of young children cuddling with teddy bears in fetish outfits.

“I want to personally apologize for the wrong artistic choice of the Children’s Gifting Campaign concept and I take my responsibility,” Demen, who only goes by his first name, wrote in a statement on Instagram on Friday. “It was inappropriate to make children promote things that had nothing to do with them.”
The campaign, shot by photographer Gabriele Gallimberti, was intended to promote a variety of new products from the Balenciaga gift shop.

Pictures of little kids wearing pieces from the Balenciaga Kids line have surfaced. Meanwhile, plush teddy bear bags appeared as accessories at Balenciaga’s Spring-Summer 2023 Ready-to-Wear show.

But many have criticized the photos, saying the bags are not suitable for children.

In a statement provided to CNN last week, Galimberti said: “I am not in a position to comment (on) Balenciaga’s choices, but I must stress that I am in no way entitled not to choose (sic) products, nor models, nor combinations of The same “.

Wrong artistic choice.

Demna’s statement continued, “As much as I would sometimes like to provoke thought through my work, I would have no intention of doing so with a topic as egregious as the child abuse that I condemn.” He added that he was committed to working with “child protection organizations” moving forward.

The luxury fashion house had previously apologized for the campaign last week, and pulled its campaign entirely.
Demna’s message was followed by a statement on Instagram from Balenciaga President and CEO Cédric Charbet, who apologized for our “mistakes” and shared a series of action items now being implemented at the fashion house.

This includes a reorganization of the poster’s image department, as well as new systems for internal and external auditing of content and campaigns. Charbit promised communications training for Balenciaga employees, a “listening tour” with child advocacy groups and grants to “help make a difference in protecting children.”

Shortly after the Gift Shop campaign hit the headlines, the brand initiated a $25 million lawsuit over a separate campaign — for its Spring 2023 collection — that also caused controversy. An image from that campaign appeared on pages of the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling in United States v. Williams, “which affirms the promotion of child pornography as illegal and not protected by freedom of speech,” according to a statement Balenciaga provided to CNN at the time. earlier this week. .

The campaign replicated a corporate setting, with shots staged in a “Manhattan office space”. The judgment page was visible above a crowded desk in a single image. In court documents filed last Friday, Balenciaga said Doc’s presence on set was “malicious or, at the very least, unusually reckless” on the part of production company North Six, designer Nicolas Des Jardins and his company.

The court filing stated that the three should be held responsible.

But Sharpett’s statement today said Balenciaga “has decided not to pursue litigation.” He did not provide a reason for this.

CNN has reached out to North Six and Des Jardins for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

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