Fashion brand Balenciaga apologized this week after a recent advertisement showing toddlers holding teddy bears dressed in bondage sparked widespread outrage.
The images were posted on its website as part of its “Toy Stories” campaign. Merchandise was also laid out in the photos, including collars, leashes, and other highly questionable décor. One image featuring another purse was even displayed on a desk with a page from the Supreme Court’s ruling in Aschroft v. Free Speech Coalition, which dealt with child pornography.
the brand "Balenciaga" just did a uh..... interesting... photoshoot for their new products recently which included a very purposely poorly hidden court document about 'virtual child porn'— shoe (@shoe0nhead) November 21, 2022
normal stuff pic.twitter.com/zjMN5WhZ0s
How about the picture of the Devil on the shelf? The drawing to the right of that looking like a body after being dismembered. Duct tape being stacked infront of his feet. Bad taste. pic.twitter.com/yiK3kMhsjq— Odubda (@odubda) November 22, 2022
“We sincerely apologize for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused,” the company wrote in its Instagram story. “Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign. We have immediately removed the campaign from all platforms.”
Regarding the Supreme Court case, Balenciaga apologized for “displaying unsettling documents.”
“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 statement said. “We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for children safety and well-being.”
#Balenciaga leadership and anyone else responsible for these ads should resign or be fired. Saying “We apologize for any offense,” is not enough.— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) November 22, 2022
The handbags debuted during Fashion Week in Paris this fall.
Fox News's Tucker Carlson said it's part of a larger trend of "adults crossing the line…into deep involvement with the sexuality of children. That has always been and must in a civilized society always be the most forbidden thing…but now it seems to be growing in its prevalence."
Regarding the inclusion of the Supreme Court case, Carlson said it was a clear "endorsement of kiddie porn."
But there’s something major missing amid this scandal: moral outrage.
“We have an entire industry in this country comprised of moral outrage merchants. If you’ve ever been on Twitter, you know what we mean," Carlson said. "Truly an entire sector of our economy is devoted to attacking people for falling short of the mark. And here is a high-end retailer promoting kiddie porn in an ad on Instagram and nobody notices. There’s no boycott. There’s no front-page New York Times editorial against it. And of course Instagram let the advertisement run, endorsing kiddie porn.”
Tucker Carlson Asking WTF Is Going On With Disturbing Balenciaga Ad Involving Children pic.twitter.com/ue1GGhkTM7— The Columbia Bugle 🇺🇸 (@ColumbiaBugle) November 22, 2022
At the time of writing, some of the brand's biggest partners are silent, as are most mainstream media outlets and other celebrities.
Kim Kardashian is a regular #Balenciaga brand partner.— Rob Smith 🇺🇸 (@robsmithonline) November 23, 2022
Kanye called crazy for speaking of trying to protect his children from being sexualized by that family.
Balenciaga drops the twisted kiddie porn campaign.
CRICKETS from Kim K. and all of Hollywood.
Also, where is the disapproval from celebrities that heavily endorse this brand like @KimKardashian and Nicole Kidman? So far silence. Why?— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) November 22, 2022