Balenciaga has offered a statement following its controversial campaign that featured children holding what some have described as "BDSM-inspired" teddy bears.
In a post on Instagram, the French fashion house said they "strongly condemn child abuse" and "it was never our intent to include it in our narrative."
The first ad under fire, a "gift collection campaign" released on November 22, featured teddy bears in leather gear which has been likened to S&M ensemble. One of the photos showed a child holding a bear dressed in restraints with a lock and chain around its neck.
They said: "This was a wrong choice by Balenciaga, combined with our failure in assessing and validating images. The responsibility for this lies with Balenciaga alone."
All of the celebrities who have spoken out against Balenciaga
The second ad facing criticism was for Spring 2023, intended to replicate a "business office environment."
Some spectators had noticed a suspicious court document, which the brand addressed in its statement.
Balenciaga said the campaign "included a photo from a page in the background from a Supreme Court ruling 'United States v. Williams' 2008 which confirms as illegal and not protected by freedom of speech the promotion of child pornography."
"All the items included in this shooting were provided by third parties that confirmed in writing that these props were fake office documents."
Since faced with scrutiny, Balenciaga removed all their Instagram posts (before posting the statement) and various celebrities have spoken out, including Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
"I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened," Kardashian told her followers.
"As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images. 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," Kim continued. "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."
Addressing her future plans to work with the brand again, Kardashian said: "As for my future with Balenciaga, I am currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand, basing it off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with — and the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children."
\u201cI have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven\u2019t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened.\u201d