Balenciaga‘s controversial creative director Demna finally apologized for the BDSM ad scandal after weeks of silence on the subject, which caused widespread backlash for incorporating children wearing bondage gear.
The Georgian fashion designer Demna Gvasalia (who goes only by his first name) posted a statement on Instagram and vowed to “engage with child protection organizations.”
Balenziaga’s Creative Director Finally “Personally Apologizes” For Disturbing Children BDSM Images
“I want to personally apologize for the wrong artistic choice of concept for the gifting campaign with the kids and I take my responsibility. It was inappropriate to have kids promote objects that had nothing to do with them,” the 41-year-old wrote.
He went on to say he “sometimes likes to provoke a thought through my work, (he) would NEVER have an intention to do that with such an awful subject as child abuse.”
“As much as I would sometimes like to provoke a thought through my work, I would NEVER have an intention to do that with such an awful subject as child abuse that I condemn. Period,” said Demna, who is personal friends with Kim Kardashian and rapper Kanye West. “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.”
Demna then apologized for the visuals and claimed Balenciaga has “guaranteed that adequate measure will be taken not only to avoid similar mistakes… but to also take accountability.”
“I apologize to anyone offended by the visuals and Balenciaga has guaranteed that adequate measures will be taken not only to avoid similar mistakes in the future but also to take accountability in protecting child welfare in every way we can,” he concluded.
Apology Comes After Company Itself Issued A Mea Culpa Last Week, Along With A $25 Million Lawsuit
The French fashion house had issued its own apology last week, along with a $25 million lawsuit against the production company behind some of the images in question.
The entire situation came to public attention late last month after people began slamming a strange set of ads, which featured young children holding teddy bears that appeared to be dressed in bondage gear, as previously reported by The Shade Room.
The controversy swiftly spread like wildfire; social media users and major figures like Tucker Carlson didn’t hold back from calling Balenciaga out and accusing the brand of sexualizing children.
Hey Photographers :
When Balenciaga hires you to shoot their new lookbook & you show up to find a toddler laid across a sofa with wine glasses & bondage gear arranged around them, you walk away. Period. pic.twitter.com/DSoHgQLM6O
— Hoop (@xhoop) November 21, 2022
the brand "Balenciaga" just did a uh….. interesting… photoshoot for their new products recently which included a very purposely poorly hidden court document about 'virtual child porn'
normal stuff pic.twitter.com/zjMN5WhZ0s
— shoe (@shoe0nhead) November 21, 2022
Balenciaga Condemns Child Abuse & Seeks To Right Its Wrongs
On November 28, the brand took to its Instagram page, which has all other posts archived, to release an apology.
The statement began with Balenciaga condemning child abuse and owning up to its “series of grievous errors.”
“We would like to address the controversies surrounding our recent ad campaigns. We strongly condemn child abuse. It was never our intent to include it in our narrative. The two separate ad campaigns reflect a series of grievous errors for which Balenciaga takes responsibility.”
After giving some backstory on the situation, representatives shared how Balenciaga will be moving forward.
Specifically, the brand is working on “reinforcing the structures around [its] creative processes and validation steps” in order to “ensure that new controls mark a pivot and will prevent this from happening again.”
We should also note that the comments were turned off on the brand’s upload.
Kim Kardashian Condemns Ads, Lawsuit Filed Against Production Company Responsible For Several Images
Frequent brand collaborator Kim Kardashian immediately condemned the ads and tried to distance herself from the controversy, The Shade Room previously reported.
Earlier this week, The Shade Room reported that Balenciaga filed a $25 million lawsuit against the production company responsible for some of the images.
The lawsuit, filed by the luxury fashion designer on Friday, was initiated in New York following paperwork regarding a Supreme Court ruling on child pornography that was identified in one of the images, CNN reports.
Balenciaga, which is owned by French luxury group Kering, filed the suit against production company North Six, Inc., as well as set designer Nicholas Des Jardins and his company, who they hired to develop and produce its Spring 2023 campaign, according to the court summons.
The ad campaign also featured actress Nicole Kidman and model Bella Hadid among others with photos staged in a “Manhattan office space” meant to recreate a corporate environment.
In one particular shot, a page from a 2008 Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Williams, “which confirms as illegal and not protected by freedom of speech the promotion of child pornography,” can be seen amongst the clutter on a desk.
The company insists it had no knowledge of the piece of paperwork, and didn’t authorize its inclusion in the photoshoot, court documents claim.