Balenciaga Apologizes After Releasing Ads Showing Kids Holding BDSM Teddy Bears!

Balenciaga is taking major heat for a truly messed up clothing campaign!

On Tuesday, the high-fashion house had to apologize to their customers after fans called them out for featuring children cuddling teddy bears dressed in bondage gear in their latest ad campaign shot by Gabriele Galimberti. WTF?! In one pic, a young child, dressed in the Balenciaga Kids line, stood on a couch holding a fluffy purple bear dressed in what appears to be a BDSM attire while several empty glasses sat nearby. Another photo saw a different child standing on a bed with an equally odd stuffed animal, which apparently had a purse. You can see the inappropriate photos if you so choose HERE!

Related: Related: Kanye Selling Old Yeezy Hoodies For $20?!

According to a press release issued last week via CNN, the “campaign iterates on the artist’s Toy Stories series, an exploration of what people collect and receive as gifts.” Um, in what world are children receiving these kinds of bears?! The company also explained the line featured “dozens of new products ranging from homeware, petwear and scent, from everyday items to limited-edition collectibles and bespoke furniture.” And apparently sexualized bears, too!

As you can imagine, the internet was down-right shocked by the images — and their outrage on social media has caused Balenciaga to delete the campaign and apologize, saying on Instagram:

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.”

No s**t!! In a statement to CNNthe photographer also tried to defend himself against the hate by insisting he had no control over the images, arguing:

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 a photographer, I was only and solely requested to lit (sic) the given scene, and take the shots according to my signature style. As usual, the direction of the campaign and of the shooting are not on the hands of the photographer.”

Let’s be real for a second: if he really didn’t approve of the photos (and there was seriously nothing he could do), he simply wouldn’t take the gig! It’s that simple!! But he then claimed he saw NOTHING wrong with the photos he took compared to others, adding:

“I suspect that any person prone to pedophilia searches on the web and unfortunately has 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.”

WOWZA.

There’s so many things wrong there — like the casual mention of “pedophilia.”

Also, this wasn’t the only disturbing bit of controversy the fashion house had to handle on Tuesday! To make things more icky, users discovered Balenciaga had included documents referring to Supreme Court child pornography laws in another set of photos. And they apparently tried to hide the doc in the image as some sort of fun easter egg to find. What the hell?? Ch-ch-check it out HERE and HERE! Then in another photo (HERE), there’s a book by Michael Borremans In the background, an artist who created a series of paintings depicting naked toddlers. So, these odd AF easter eggs weren’t a one-time thing.

Once again, the company simply stated on their Instagram Story:

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. We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for children’s safety and well-being.”

Whoa. They’re taking legal action?? An understandable step, but let’s not forget dozens of people probably signed off on these pics before they hit the internet! And they clearly didn’t have a problem with the content until the controversy hit. SMH. You gonna sue yourself??

Related: Jason Momoa Strips Almost Completely Naked On Jimmy Kimmel Live!

The photog also told CNN he had “no connection with the photo where a Supreme Court document appears.” Still, it’s really strange to have both of these pop up at the same time! What was the brand thinking???

Social media has been full of commentary ever since these photos hit the internet, and if Balenciaga thought their apologies were going to solve the problem, they’re in for a rude awakening now. Just take a look at what upset customers say:

“Balenciaga is very much canceled in my eyes, I don’t care what explanation they come up with. don’t mess with children”

“Balenciaga severed their ties with [Kanye West] due to a[n antisemitic] tweet. Yet they expect us to just ‘accept their apology’ after they get caught up sexualizing children? They’re not apologizing because they’re sorry. They’re apologizing because they got caught.”

“Hey Photographers: When Balenciaga hires you to shoot their new lookbook & you show up to find a toddler laid across a sofa with wine glasses & bondage gear arranged around them, you walk away. Period.”

The notion that Balenciaga was [sic] Ignorant to the fact that their kiddie BDSM photo shoot also featured a document relating to child porn is utterly absurd. Note how the company also left Twitter after Elon [Musk] cracked down on child exploitation. The whole thing is beyond vile.”

“Balenciaga child porn groomers have left Twitter and taken their tweets with them….thinking they have erased their dirty deeds. All Balenciaga social media accounts are gone.”

“#Balenciaga leadership and anyone else responsible for these ads should resign or be fired. Saying ‘We apologize for any offense,’ is not enough. Also, where is the disapproval of celebrities who heavily endorse this brand like [Kim Kardashian] and Nicole Kidman? So far silence. Why?”

As mentioned, the company’s social media accounts have gone dark and their apologies were posed in their IG Story, meaning they’ll disappear, and when the company tries to return, they’ll likely try to pretend this scandal didn’t happen in the first place. Sigh.

Interestingly, many people also believe the company may have purposely created these controversial images to get more press from the backlash:

But imo this was deliberate. Do you know how much pre-planning goes into signing a concept off? Then signing off the final images. SOMEONE should have caught how inappropriate this is.”

“Balenciaga knew what they were doing. Everything for those campaigns had to go through multiple senior decision makers. No excuse for it at all – disgusting.”

The balenciaga thing sucks because they definitely did it on purpose for outrage marketing and people like Tucker Carlson are already tying it into the ‘drag queen groomer’ panic. all to sell some $500 t-shirts”

Ugh. Bit of an odd strategy, if you ask us. Why would anyone try to profit from bad press, especially right after their drama with Kanye?! It doesn’t make sense! Then again, it’s true, why are A-listers like Kim and Nicole still flaunting the designer’s wares all considering? Thoughts, Perezcious readers? What do you think was going on behind the scenes to allow this campaign?!

[Image via WENN/Avalon]

Leave a Comment