Kim Kardashian ‘re-evaluating’ her relationship with Balenciaga following ad controversy
Kim Kardashian has spoken out about the latest Balenciaga commercial fiasco. “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,” she wrote on social media Sunday, Nov. 27.
Kardashian has previously worn Balenciaga to high-profile events like the Met Gala, and she appeared in the luxury brand’s couture presentation at Paris Fashion Week earlier this summer.
Kardashian’s tweet comes only a week after Balenciaga was chastised for its commercials showcasing children posing with the company’s plush bear bags, which are outfitted in BDSM-inspired harnesses.
In one shot, a child stood on a bed with one of the plush bear bags, surrounded by other handbags and accessories, including what seemed to be a chain leash and a Balenciaga branded dog collar choker.
The reality star, businesswoman, and mom to North, 9, Saint, 6, Chicago, 4, and Psalm, 3, continued, “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.”
“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,” she concluded.
The founder of SKIMS also stated that she is “currently re-evaluating my relationship with the company.” Kardashian stated that her future relationship with the company will be based on its willingness to take accountability and its steps to protect children.
The Spanish luxury brand previously issued an apology for the ads on its Instagram on Nov. 22, writing, “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.”
In a follow-up statement on Monday, Balenciaga added, “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 responsibility.”
“The first campaign, the Gift collection campaign, featured children with plush bear bags dressed in what some have labeled BDSM-inspired outfits. Our plush bear bags and the Gift collection should not have been featured with children. This was a wrong choice by Balenciaga, combined with our failure in assessing and validating images. The responsibility for this lies with Balenciaga alone,” the brand continued.
“The second, separate campaign for Spring 2023, which was meant to replicate a business office environment, included a photo with a page in the background from a Supreme Court ruling ‘United States v. Williams’ 2008 which confirms as illegal and not protected by freedom of speech the promotion of child pornography. All the items included in this shooting 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.”
The company added, “The inclusion of these unapproved documents was the result of reckless negligence for which Balenciaga has filed a complaint. We take full accountability for our lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background and we could have done things differently.” Gabriele Galimberti, the photographer for Balenciaga’s Holiday campaign, also issued a statement on Nov. 23.
“I am not in a position to comment Balenciaga’s choices, but I must stress that I was not entitled in whatsoever manner to neither chose the products, nor the models, nor the combination of the same,” Galimberti wrote in the caption of an Instagram post. “As a photographer, I was only and solely requested to light the given scene and take the shots according to my signature style. As usual for commercial shooting, the direction of the campaign and the choice of the objects displayed are not in the hands of the photographer.”
Galimberti also claimed he had “no connection with the photo where a Supreme Court document appears,” referring to a separate earlier ad for a purse, in which a Supreme Court ruling on child pornography laws could be seen. “That one was taken in another set by other people and was falsely associated with my photos,” he said.