We've been writing for the past week on the fashion brand Balenciaga's advertising campaign that features BDSM Teddy bears and pedophilic symbols. On Friday, we reported that the company had filed a lawsuit for $25 million against the producers of the campaign. The following morning, we reported on Kim Kardashian's response and Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp's far more appropriate response.
What was described as a right-wing conspiracy theory this week has now been taken seriously.
Balenciaga published a more in-depth explanation of the incident and acknowledged responsibility for the campaign's ad via its Instagram account on Monday. It was the first update since they removed all their content the previous week.
They started by addressing the BDSM Teddy bears:
“The Christmas collection featured young children wearing plush bears dressed in what many have described as the BDSM-inspired clothes. Our bears' plush bags and the gift collection shouldn't be featured alongside children. This was a mistake by Balenciaga. This was exacerbated by our inability to evaluate and validate the images. The fault is entirely on Balenciaga.”
In the words of Daily Mail, the campaign was “an exploration of what people collect and receive as gifts.”
This month, the French-based company claimed that its controversial ad draws inspiration from the artist's book series “Toy Stories”, an exploration of the things people collect and give as gifts', according to the press announcement.
The company also stated that it would include “a myriad of brand new items that range from homeware, pet clothing and scents, from everyday things to collectibles with limited editions and custom-designed furniture.'
Perhaps that's the reason for the spiked bowl and leash that are on the table. It also implies that they were designed to be used for pets, not children in the photograph? The image is certainly a shout of “groomer.”
Concerning the image of the purse placed on an office desk, with the US v. Williams court ruling in the background, Balenciaga says they were informed that the objects were fake documents from the office and that they are firmly pushing “third parties” under the bus:
“All the props used in the shooting were supplied by third parties, who verified that these props were fake documents from the office. They were authentic legal documents, most likely from the making of a drama on television. The use of these non-approved documents was due to negligent conduct and for which Balenciaga was able to file a lawsuit.
“We take full accountability for our lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background and we could have done things differently.”
The article then details three steps Balenciaga has taken “while internal and external investigations are ongoing,” comprising “revising our organization and collective ways of working,” “reinforcing the structures around our creative processes and validation steps,” and “laying the groundwork with organizations who specialize in child protection.”
This should mean choosing not to work with photographers who use softcore kiddie porn and other disturbing photos in their portfolio, and looking closely at the stylists.
Not in Balenciaga's statement were any mentions of the ad that features a book for coffee tables featuring Michael Borreman's art that includes images of toddlers with facial disfigurement who look like they've been castrated.
The artist is associated with Balenciaga. Some Twitter users have highlighted the similarity between his previous work and Kim Kardashian's Balenciaga-styled Met Gala gown.
Balenciaga did not even discuss the image in which the caution tape that spells “Baalenciaga,” a seeming reference to the Canaanite god Baal, is utilized. It is a modification to one of Balenciaga's merchandise which is likely to require approval by the company.
We've also discovered more information on the names of the models' children since one of their parents spoke to the Daily Mail last week.
He claimed Galimberti was innocent of any wrongdoing. He said the models were children of Balenciaga employees who were present at the shoot, and who had endorsed the campaign.
He spoke in anonymity, saying “I am so sorry for Gabriele who was not involved in this incident. It was not directly connected with him. He was simply taking photos according to the request of Balenciaga. Their parents attended the photo shoot and were in agreement of the events that took place.”
Children of those who have been a part of the campaign? This explains quite a bit. The father said that his children had a great time and that no one was concerned that there was anything wrong with the way things were going.