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Balenciaga, the luxury fashion brand that has sparked back-to-back controversy in two recent ad campaigns, has announced plans to sue production company North Six for his role in the creation of one of the advertisements.
The backlash began when online scrutineers noticed a page from the Supreme Court’s 2008 decision United States vs. Williams as the backdrop for an ad featuring a $3,000 scholarship.
The decision upheld the constitutionality of a conviction for child pornography.
The ad, which has since been removed from the company’s website, was part of the fashion house’s Spring 2023 collaboration with sportswear brand Adidas.
Balenciaga watchers might not have noticed the excerpt from the Supreme Court ruling had it not been for the controversy earlier this month with another advertisement – that of the holiday collection of the brand.
This advertising campaign also generated negative reactions because it images of children holding teddy bears wearing fishnet tops and leather harnesses, surrounded by objects like flasks and chain necklaces.
The ad was photographed by renowned documentary photographer Gabriele Galimberti, who shot in a similar style (but with less provocative objects) for a series called “Toy Stories”.
Galimberti wrote in a statement that he had no control over the products or models used for the Balenciaga shoot.
“As is customary for a commercial shoot, the direction of the campaign and the choice of exhibits are not in the hands of the photographer,” he said.
He added that the hateful messages sent to him “are directed at the wrong targets and distract from the real problem and the criminals”.
Balenciaga apologized for the two ads in two different statements last week and then again on Monday, saying first “our plush bags and gift collection should not have been shown with children”, and that all items used as props in the second publicity shoot were “provided by third parties who confirmed in writing that these props were fake office documents”.
“They turned out to be real legal documents most likely from the filming of a television drama,” the company said, adding that it was investigating the incident internally and exploring ways to work with organizations fighting against it. child abuse.
“We want to learn from our mistakes and identify ways in which we can contribute. Balenciaga reiterates its sincere apologies.”
On Friday, the brand sued the production company North Six and the decorator Nicholas Des Jardins for their role in the creation of the second advertisement.
Balenciaga claims that North Six included materials in the campaign “without Balenciaga’s knowledge or permission”, according to the lawsuit. The company will seek $25 million in damages.
Neither Balenciaga nor an agent for Nicholas Des Jardins immediately responded to NPR’s request for comment. North Six responded to confirm it had received the summons, but said it had no comment on the allegations.
Balenciaga says that [North Six]his inexplicable acts and omissions were malicious or, at the very least, extraordinarily reckless”.
“Consequently [North Six]members of the public, including the news media, have falsely and horribly associated Balenciaga with the repugnant and deeply disturbing subject matter of the court ruling,” the court document states.
In an industry that has long been accused of failing to prioritize morality and ethics, Balenciaga has long walked the fine line between edgy and offensive.
In 2021, the brand was lambasted by fashion and history pundits for selling a $1,190 pair of sweatpants with boxer briefs sticking out of the waistband, a garment that critics said stood out. appropriated black culture.
More recently, Balenciaga came under fire last month for being slow to end its limited collaborations with Kanye West after he made anti-Semitic remarks.
Some of the company’s recent products included Croc stilettos, a $2,000 tote bag that mimics the company’s paper shopping bags, and white cotton socks that sell for $130 a pair.
The brand is famous with celebrities like Kim Kardashian, who has been criticized for being slow to respond to teddy bear ads, especially from right-wing media figures.
She said on social media on Sunday that she was “reassessing” her role as an ambassador with the fashion house.
“I appreciate Balenciaga’s removal of campaigns and apologies,” she wrote. “Talking with them, I believe they understand the seriousness of the problem and will take the necessary steps to ensure that it never happens again.”
I’ve been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted the opportunity to talk to their team to figure out for myself how this could happen.
—Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) November 27, 2022
Other social media users are view the lawsuit as an attempt to shift blame elsewherewhich only revives the interest of the public to see the advertisements in the meantime.
“No excuse can ever suffice for what they let happen,” a user wrote. “Cancelled for good.”