"We would like to address the controversies surrounding our recent ad campaigns," the Spanish fashion house stated in a Nov. 28 Instagram post. "We strongly condemn child abuse; it was never our intent to include it in our narrative."
"The two separate ad campaigns in question reflect a series of grievous errors for which Balenciaga takes full responsibility."
According to the fashion brand, the first campaign involving stuffed animals decked in BDSM gear "should not have been featured with children." Balenciaga cited a "wrong choice" and its "failure in assessing and validating images" for the issue. (Related: Balenciaga blasted for ads featuring kids with BDSM gear.)
The second campaign, meanwhile, sought to "replicate a business office environment." Balenciaga clarified that the document in the said ad was the 2008 U.S. v. Williams decision by the Supreme Court, which ruled that the promotion of child pornography is illegal and not protected by the First Amendment.
The brand further explained: "All the items included in this [shoot] were provided by third parties that confirmed in writing that these props were fake office documents. They turned out to be real legal papers, most likely coming from the filming of a television drama."
While Balenciaga stated the involvement of third parties in the shoot, it ultimately admitted to negligence and a lack of oversight and judgment.
The fashion brand's apology came three days after it sued North Six Inc., the production company it hired for the second campaign, for $25 million. Set designer Nicholas Des Jardins and his company were also named as defendants in the Nov. 25 complaint. Interestingly, none of the photographers for the first and second campaigns were included as defendants.
Gabriele Galimberti, the photographer for the first campaign, commented on the fiasco through a statement.
"I am not in a position to comment [on] Balenciaga's choices, but I must stress that I was not entitled in whatsoever manner to choose the products, the models or the combination of the same," he said. "The direction of the [commercial] campaign and the choice of the objects displayed are not in the hands of the photographer."
Gabriela Moussaieff, Des Jardins' agent, lamented that Balenciaga is using her client as a scapegoat.
"Everyone from Balenciaga was on the shoot, was present on every shot and worked on the edit of every image in post-production," Moussaieff said. She also pointed out that the U.S. v. Williams ruling and other documents used in the second campaign "were obtained from a prop house that were rental pieces used [for] photo shoots."
Meanwhile, several Twitter personalities denounced the controversial ads by Balenciaga. Others dug into the brand's earlier campaigns and found themes centering on Satanic imagery, child pornography, cannibalism and human sacrifice.
Actress Kim Kardashian, an ambassador for the fashion label, tweeted: "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."
While she appreciated Balenciaga's removal of the offensive campaigns and its subsequent apology, Kardashian added that she is currently reevaluating her relationship with the brand based on its willingness to accept accountability and its actions to protect children in future campaigns.
Paul Joseph Watson of Summit News, meanwhile, wrote in a tweet: "The notion that Balenciaga was ignorant to the fact that their kiddie BDSM photo shoot also featured a document relating to child porn is utterly absurd.
Watch this Fox News report that argues Balenciaga's lawsuit against North Six is just a public relations move.
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