Explained: Balenciaga’s controversial ad promoting child porn and why is Kim Kardashian being criticised

The luxury fashion house Balenciaga is receiving flak for its recent ad featuring children holding teddy bears wearing what critics called bondage gear.

Reality star Kim Kardashian who is a celebrity ambassador for the brand has broke her silence and has tweeted saying, “As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images,” Kardashian, a celebrity ambassador for the brand, wrote on Instagram Sunday night, adding that she had spent the last few days talking with the Balenciaga team “to understand for myself how this could have happened.”

“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,” she wrote.

Defending the brand , she wrote, “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.”

Speaking about the future association with the brand, Kardashian wrote, “As for my future with Balenciaga, I am currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand.” 

Why is Kim Kardashian being criticised?

Kim is being criticized as she has not cut ties with the brand but rather said that she is re-evaluating her relationship with the brand. One user wrote, “Balenciaga knew exactly what they were doing.” Another user wrote, “What she really meant: “Hey, I know what they did is disgusting & disturbing, but unfortunately they pay me too much so I will continue to support them while making you seem like I care. So sorry, it’s just too much money to pass up & I only care about my kids, not yours.” Some other wrote, “Kim, there was nothing accidental about it. It was well thought out and disturbingly perverted.” Another user wrote, “Didn’t you divorce Kanye over a MAGA hat? lol I think it’s hilarious that you wana try and work it out with this company who basically approved CP & child abuse. It’s gross. Even for you.”

Recently, the company had ended its partnership with Kardashian’s ex-husband, rapper and designer Kanye West, last month after West, also known as Ye, posted an anti-Semitic tweet and appeared at a Paris fashion show wearing a shirt with the slogan “White Lives Matter,” a rebuke to the Black Lives Matter racial equality movement.

What was the photoshoot all about?

The French brand, part of the luxury Kering group, last week withdrew the photos from the Spring/Summer 2023 advertising campaign. Two of them showed young children holding handbags in the shape of teddy bears, which were wearing black leather straps with silver studs.

Internet commentators noticed another photo from a Balenciaga-Adidas ad collaboration showed printed documents from a US Supreme Court ruling on child pornography.

According to Bloomberg, Balenciaga filed a lawsuit on Friday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan alleging that production company North Six Inc. and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins used documents related to a child pornography case in photos in the ad campaign without permission.

As a result, the public and the media “have falsely and horrifically associated Balenciaga with the repulsive and deeply disturbing subject,” the fashion house said in the court documents. Balenciaga withdrew the images following an uproar on social media.

Last week, Balenciaga also posted an apology on its own Instagram account.

“Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign. We have immediately removed the campaign from all platforms,” the post said.

They then posted another apology, this time addressing the ad that featured the court documents referencing child pornography laws.

“We apologize 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,” the post said.

Earlier on 23 November, the photographer of the controversial shoot Gabriele Galimberti also issued a statement.

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

“As a photographer, I was only and solely requested to lit the given scene, and take the shots according to my signature style. As usual for a commercial shooting, the direction of the campaign and the choice of the objects displayed are not in the hands of the photographer,” he added.

Amelia Brankov, a lawyer for Des Jardins, said there “certainly was no malevolent scheme going on.” “As Balenciaga is aware, numerous boxes of documents simply were sourced from a prop house as rental items,” she told AFP.

“Moreover, representatives from Balenciaga were present at the shoot, overseeing it and handling papers and props, and Des Jardins as a set designer was not responsible for image selection from the shoot,” the lawyer added.

Sources: https://www.livemint.com/news/world/explained-balenciaga-s-controversial-ad-promoting-child-porn-and-why-is-kim-kardashian-being-criticised-11669707372909.html

 

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