Balenciaga is dropping its massive $25 million lawsuit against a marketing agency it claims was responsibly for its recent controversial photoshoots, and will instead focus on donating to organizations that work to protect children, the luxury fashion house said.
In a statement released on Instagram Friday, President and CEO Cedric Charbit said “Balenciaga has decided not to pursue legal action” – ditching multi-million dollar lawsuit against North Six from last week.
The company admitted that their “current process for content validation has failed,” and added it will be launching an image board, with members being responsible for evaluating all of their in-house content from now on.
Balenciaga President & CEO Says Company Is Dropping $25 Million Lawsuit, Major Changes Made For Content Moderation
Charbit went on to say that the company is also now working with an agency to assess its content and related projects, alongside other company-wide changes in the wake of last month’s ad campaign controversies.
The company says it’s also working with an agency to better assess its projects, amongst other company-wide changes.
He says that Balenciaga has set aside a “significant fund” for grants from orgs that benefit the protection of children,” and ended the statement by apologizing for the controversy, adding that they don’t tolerate “any kind of violence and hatred message.”
Balenciaga’s Creative Director Finally “Personally Apologizes” For Disturbing Children BDSM Images
The news comes just days after the company’s controversial creative director Demna similarly apologized for the BDSM ad scandal after weeks of silence on the subject, which caused widespread backlash for incorporating children wearing bondage gear, The Shade Room reported.
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.”
“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.”
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
Lawsuit Filed Last Friday In New York Over An Image Used In One Of Balenciaga’s Advertisements
As reported by The Shade Room last week, Balenciaga was suing the production company responsible for its controversial Spring 2023 ad campaign for at least $25 million.
The label filed the lawsuit after being blasted with complaints about their indecent use of children in advertisements.
The lawsuit, which as filed by the luxury fashion designer last Friday, had been 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.
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
Widespread Backlash Over Balenciaga Ads Featuring Young Children Holding Teddy Bears In BDSM Gear
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.
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.
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 at the time shared how Balenciaga would 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.