After a week of silence, Kim Kardashian denounced the controversial Balenciaga ad campaign that depicted children with bondage-style attire.
The ad images came under fire last week as people noticed the odd outfits fashioned onto the stuffed animals, as well as some mysterious court documents that alluded to child abuse and pornography.
The likes of Kardashian and Bella Hadid, who have strong ties to the luxury fashion house, were slammed on social media for keeping tight-lipped about the ongoing controversy. While Hadid, 26, seemingly deleted an Instagram post promoting the brand, fans couldn’t bear the deafening silence, demanding a formal statement from the A-listers.
Kardashian claimed she wanted to give brand, that she has a close partnership with, an opportunity to discuss the situation with her personally. Out of immense protectiveness for her own children, the safety of kids is her top priority, she said in a statement online.
The “disgusted” SKIMS and SKKN founder even hinted at discontinuing her relationship with the brand, saying she is “re-evaluating” as new information arises.
“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,” the 42-year-old mogul tweeted to begin a lengthy thread.
“As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images. 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.”
“As for my future with Balenciaga, I am currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand, basing it off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with — & the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children,” she ended the thread.
Kardashian has been linked to the brand for a while now, appearing in their fall 2022 collection campaign in a striking blue gown, the designer’s apparel from an Adidas collab and, of course, who could forget her infamous caution tape catsuit.
Despite the drawn-out, four-part statement from the reality TV star, fans weren’t convinced that she was genuine, accusing her of being insincere and only caring about “money.”
“I don’t believe that you’re being sincere at all,” one user sneered. “I think you were just hoping that it would blow over. There’s no way that they paid for an ad campaign, didn’t look it over thoroughly before they put it out there. Seems like it’s more about money for you.”
“This is laughable at best. And it’s only because they cut you a check quit playin,” another jabbed.
“I can see now why Kanye wants to protect his kids at all costs! Pathetic statement!” someone else quipped of Ye, formerly known as Kanye West and the ex-husband of the reality icon. The rapper was let go from his partnership with Balenciaga following his hateful tirades online against the Jewish community last month.
After the brand denounced his anti-Semitic remarks, Balenciaga wasted no time pulling the BDSM-style children’s ad after outraged viewers demanded it.
“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,” the brand said in a statement to The Post.
“We apologize for displaying unsettling documents in our campaign,” the statement continued. “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 safety and well-being.”
Balenciaga filed a $25 million lawsuit against the production company North Six, Inc. and Nicholas Des Jardins, the set designer, for the bizarre imagery. According to the court documents, the fashion house is filing the suit “to seek redress for extensive damages defendants caused in connection with an advertising campaign Balenciaga hired them to produce.”
The brand even claimed the production company included some of the images without its knowledge, calling the breach of trust “malevolent or, at the very least, extraordinarily reckless.”
Despite appearing on Balenciaga’s website as a full advertising campaign for their children’s department, the luxe company claims the images are being wrongfully associated with them.
“As a result of Defendants’ misconduct, members of the public, including the news media, have falsely and horrifically associated Balenciaga with the repulsive and deeply disturbing subject of the court decision,” read the court papers. “Defendants are liable to Balenciaga for all harm resulting from this false association.”
Infuriated Twitter users volleyed cruel messages towards the ad’s photographer Gabriele Galimberti, who took to Instagram to set the record straight.
According to his statement, his hands were tied — he was unable to control the content and set-up of the shoot itself and was only given lighting and camera liberties. He was hired to simply put his “signature style” to work and didn’t have any say in the “direction of the campaign and the choice of the objects displayed.”
Other A-listers flocked to social media to weigh in on the controversy, like “Vanderpump Rules” star Lala Kent, who called the images “horrifying.” Meanwhile, others were caught in the crossfire, put on the hot seat for wearing anything branded with the Balenciaga label.
Now, any association with the luxe fashion brand results in online fury and has even prompted some Balenciaga wearers to trash their pricey handbags. Even “Real Housewives of New Jersey” star Teresa Guidice was slammed online for flaunting a white sweater covered in black “Balenciaga” logotype.
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