Balenciaga designer Demna apologizes for controversial advertising campaign
- December 3, 2022
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Balenciaga’s creative director has made a personal statement about a controversial ad for which the fashion company apologized last week. Demna Gvasalia said in an Instagram post on Friday that he wanted to “personally apologize” for an ad campaign that featured children holding teddy bear bags that appeared to be outfitted with bondage gear.
“I take my responsibility,” wrote the 41-year-old designer, who goes by his first name. “It was inappropriate to have children promote objects that had nothing to do with them.”
“As much as I would like at times to be thought-provoking through my work, I would NEVER intend to do so on an issue as horrific as child abuse, which I condemn. Period,” his post continued, adding that he needs to learn from this and will work with child protection organizations.
Many criticized the ad as disturbing because it showed children carrying teddy bear bags, accessorized with chains, fishnet stockings and other accessories. Demna said he apologizes to anyone who was offended by the images and that Balenciaga will take steps to avoid similar mistakes and “take responsibility for protecting the best interests of children in any way we can.”
In a statement on Monday, Balenciaga apologized for the campaign and said it had removed the ads from all platforms, adding that the “plush bear bags should not have been shown with children in this campaign”.
In the same statement, Balenciaga also apologized for a separate ad that sparked an uproar this week in which a purse was seen on a desk with documents scattered about. A document comes from a court case over child pornography.
This ad “was intended to replicate an office environment,” Balenciaga said in his statement. “All items included in this shoot were provided by third parties who confirmed in writing that these props were forged office documents.
Balenciaga this week filed a $25 million lawsuit against North Six, the production company that produced the “Office Environment” campaign. North Six confirmed to CBS MoneyWatch that it managed the commercial shoot, but didn’t comment further.
Kim Kardashian, who has worked with Balenciaga in the past, said in a statement Monday that she was “reevaluating” her relationship with the company following the two ad campaigns. she tweeted thatthat as a mother of four, she was “struck by the disturbing images” and appreciated the brand’s removal of the campaigns.
Demna appeared alongside Kardashian on the red carpet at the Met Gala in September 2021, both of which wore face masks from the fashion house.
Kim Kardashian West and Demna Gvasalia attend the Met Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on September 13, 2021 in New York City. Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images