Balenciaga’s Teddy Bear Bag Ad For Children Has Caused Controversy; Has The Company Issued An Apology?

what happened with balenciaga

An ad campaign for Balenciaga that featured children and stuffed animals wearing BDSM gear went viral earlier this month, prompting the brand to issue an apology.

The high-end fashion label received widespread criticism for the controversial photoshoot, prompting it to remove all of the images from its Instagram account.

The business has said it is “taking legal action against the parties responsible” and that it “strongly condemns the abuse of children in any form.”

What Did Balenciaga Do?

Balenciaga’s “Toy Stories” online advertising campaign featured a photo shoot with young models carrying teddy bear bags from the brand’s Spring/Summer 2023 Paris Fashion Week presentation.

However, it appeared that the stuffed animals were wearing bondage and BDSM attire, such as a leather chest harness, ankle and wrist restraints, fishnet tops, and collars with locks.

What Did Balenciaga Say In Their Apology

Photographer Gabriele Galimberti of National Geographic included several documents next to a handbag in the photos; one of them appeared to be from the Supreme Court case United States v Williams from 2008, which made “pandering” (offering or requesting to transfer, sell, deliver, or trade) of child pornography illegal.

Michael Williams, the defendant, was found to have posted messages online in which he offered to trade images of child sexual abuse with other users. In 2004, he was apprehended during an undercover operation meant to combat online child exploitation.

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Users on the Internet have also pointed out that another document in the photo shoot appears to reference a different Supreme Court case: Ashcroft v Free Speech Coalition, in which the court struck down a provision of the Child Pornography Prevention Act (CPPA) of 1996 that banned “virtual child pornography,” ruling instead that it was protected speech in 2002.

What Did Balenciaga Say In Their Apology?

An official statement from Balenciaga was shared on the brand’s Instagram story.

We deeply regret any hurt or anger our holiday campaign may have caused,” the company said in a statement. It was inappropriate to advertise our plush bear bags for children. We have terminated the advertising campaign immediately across all channels.

What Did Balenciaga Do

We regret that we had to include disturbing materials in our campaign,” it continued. With the utmost seriousness, we are pursuing legal action against those who constructed the set for our spring 23 campaign photoshoot without our permission.

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To abuse, a child in any way is something we strongly disagree with and will not tolerate. Protecting and caring for children is a top priority for us.

What Was The Balenciaga Ad? We Need To Know What Went Down With Balenciaga And The Kids

The “campaign iterates on the artist’s series Toy Stories, an exploration of what people collect and receive as gifts,” read the original press release from last week.

There are “dozens of new products ranging from homeware, pet wear, and scent, from everyday items to limited-edition collectibles and bespoke furniture,” as stated in the company’s initial press release.

What Was The Balenciaga Ad We Need To Know What Went Down With Balenciaga And The kids

Images of young children carrying what appeared to be BDSM-inspired outfits and carrying stuffed teddy bears in their bags sparked an angry reaction on social media. The image depicts a young child holding a number of half-full wine glasses.

A Twitter user noted that even though Balenciaga had “apologized,” it was widely known that the campaign had slipped past management. This is an attempt to gain publicity by means of controversy. I will not and cannot accept their apologies. Sexualizing children is always wrong.

Final Words

On Tuesday, the company announced the removal of the ad campaign and issued an apology on Instagram.

Our holiday campaign was meant to be lighthearted, and we are deeply sorry if any hurt feelings were triggered by it. In this ad campaign, featuring our plush bear bags with children was inappropriate.


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Karan Siradi

I am an author and a public speaker. I was born in India and have travelled to many different countries. I have a masters in public communication from California University and I love to write about famous peoples from different industries.

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