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Balenciaga issues lengthy statement amid campaign controversy: ‘We strongly condemn child abuse; it was never our intent’

"The responsibility for this lies with Balenciaga alone."

Balenciaga, Balenciaga news, Balenciaga controversy, Balenciaga campaign, Balenciaga campaign with children, Balenciaga 'bondage' teddy bears, indian express newsThe French fashion label recently took to Instagram to share an apology, writing, "We sincerely apologise for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused." (Photo: Instagram/@demnagram)

Luxury fashion house Balenciaga issued another apology, this time a longer statement explaining its stance that was shared on Instagram, amid the recent controversy surrounding two of its ‘deeply disturbing’ and ‘inappropriate’ campaign photoshoots featuring children holding teddy bears dressed in bondage accessories, along with an image of a supreme court opinion on a child pornography case.

The French fashion label has wiped off all posts on Instagram, barring one — that of a lengthy statement on the matter — in which it is “strongly condemning child abuse”. It wrote, “We strongly condemn child abuse; it was never our intent to include it in our narrative. The two separate ad campaigns in question reflect a series of grievous errors for which Balenciaga takes responsibility.”

The statement further explained that the first campaign, the “gift collection campaign”, for which children posed with “plush bear bags dressed in what some have labelled BDSM-inspired outfits”, was a “wrong choice” on the part of the brand, combined with their “failure in assessing and validating images”. “The responsibility for this lies with Balenciaga alone.”

Writing about the second ad, which was a part of Balenciaga’s spring 2023 campaign that featured a printout of a supreme court decision on child pornography, it mentioned that it was “meant to replicate a business office environment”. “All the items included in this shooting were provided by third parties that confirmed in writing that these props were fake office documents. They turned out to be real legal papers most likely coming from the filming of a television drama.”

Balenciaga admitted that the inclusion of these “unapproved documents was the result of reckless negligence” for which it has filed a complaint. “We want to learn from our mistakes and identify ways we can contribute. Balenciaga reiterates its sincere apologies for the offense we have caused and extends its apologies to talents and partners.”

A few days ago, after the fashion label was called out on social media, it had taken to Instagram stories to share an apology, writing, “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.”

Photo: Instagram/@balenciaga

In the subsequent story, it apologised for “displaying unsettling documents”, adding: “We take this matter very seriously and are taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items.”

“We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for children safety and well-being,” the statement read.

Photo: Instagram/@balenciaga

The controversial photoshoot was displayed on the official Balenciaga website — which has now been taken down — as part of its recent campaign titled ‘Toy Stories’.

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First published on: 29-11-2022 at 13:20 IST
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