Kim Kardashian, an ambassador for Balenciaga, is speaking out after controversy surrounding the high-end fashion house’s most recent holiday advertising campaign.
On Sunday, Kardashian posted a statement on her Instagram Story on the Balenciaga advertising campaign, which received criticism for using young models and making references to child pornography.
The reality television star turned beauty tycoon claimed that the “disturbing pictures” of the campaign left her “shaken.” Kardashian continued by saying that she is currently reassessing her working connection with Balenciaga.
“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 wrote. “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.”
She 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.”
Balenciaga got into trouble when its holiday campaign angered activists and users of social media.
The brand’s “plush bear bags,” stuffed animals dressed in bondage attire, were seen on child models in one advertisement from the campaign, while court documents referencing Supreme Court rulings on child pornography were shown in another ad for its “Hourglass” handbag.
Demna Gvasalia, Balenciaga’s creative director, “personally apologize(d)” in an Instagram post-Friday, taking responsibility for the “wrong artistic choice” and vowing the company will take measures to “avoid similar mistakes in the future.”
“As much as I would sometimes like to provoke thought through my work, I would NEVER have the intention to do that with such an awful subject as child abuse that I condemn. Period,” he wrote. “I need to learn from this, listen and engage with child protection organizations to know how I can contribute and help on this terrible subject.”
Balenciaga posted a statement on its Instagram story last week apologizing for the uproar.
“We sincerely apologize for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused,” the company wrote. “Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign. … We strongly condemn the abuse of children in any form. We stand for children’s safety and well-being.”
The fashion business stated it is seeking legal action against “the parties who created the set and inserted unapproved items” in relation to the use of court records in its campaign. According to The Post, Balenciaga sued set designer Nicholas Des Jardins and production company North Six, Inc. for $25 million on Friday for using legal documents in the campaign.
The fashion house shared in an additional Instagram statement Monday that it condemns child abuse and had no intention to “include it in our narrative.”
“The two separate ad campaigns in question reflect a series of grievous errors for which Balenciaga takes responsibility,” it added.
One of these errors, according to the statement, was featuring children with plush bears bags “dressed in what some have labeled BDSM-inspired outfits.” These bears “should not have been featured with children,” and the error “was a wrong choice by Balenciaga, combined with our failure in assessing and validating images.”
“The responsibility for this lies with Balenciaga alone,” the fashion house continued.
The second error, the statement said, was depicting an office environment containing copies of court papers from a 2008 Supreme Court case that confirmed promoting child pornography is illegal and not a protected form of free speech.
Third parties reportedly supplied these documents and confirmed in writing that they were “fake office documents,” according to Balenciaga. The documents were actually “real legal papers most likely coming from the filming of a television drama” according to the statement.
“We take full accountability for our lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background and we could have done things differently,” the statement continued, noting these papers prompted Balenciaga to file its $25 million lawsuit
In addition to undergoing internal and external investigations, the company said it plans on revising its ways of working, “reinforcing the structures” around its creative processes, and “laying the groundwork” with organizations dedicated to ending child abuse.
Gabriele Galimberti, one of the photographers for the campaign, also weighed in on the scandal Wednesday, saying that he had no involvement in the photoshoot’s setup.
“As a photographer, I was only and solely requested to light the given scene and take the shots according to my signature style,” Galimberti wrote on Instagram. “As usual for a commercial shooting, the direction of the campaign and the choice of the objects displayed are not in the hands of the photographer.”