Balenciaga, as we reported previously, apologized for using its “plush bear bags” (a/k/a “BDSM bears”) in an advertisement campaign with children and said that they would “take legal action against the persons responsible for creating the set of unapproved items for the spring 23 campaign photoshoot.” Balenciaga filed a $25 million lawsuit.
The New York Post:
Friday’s suit was filed by the fashion house against North Six, Inc. set designer Nicholas Des Jardins and his eponymous firm. The ads contained legal documents from the US Supreme Court’s decision regarding child porn laws.
Balenciaga will bring the case “to seek redress from extensive damages defendants caused by an advertising campaign Balenciaga employed them to produce,” according to the Manhattan Supreme Court summons.
Many news stories initially focused on legal paperwork being placed on the desk of a model. This paperwork included a court opinion in an important child pornography case. In many other images, however, it was not necessary to zoom in to see the disturbing imagery.
En las últimas horas hay tremendo escándalo montado con la última campaña de Balenciaga e igual no os enteráis de qué coño pasa. Así que abriré hilo explicándolo 👇🏽 pic.twitter.com/5wGKshIzS3
— gam (@mbafraudee) November 24, 2022
Twitter users pointed out that the subliminal portion was not limited to one court opinion regarding child pornography. Books depicting the work and life of an artist who paints naked and mutilated toddlers are found on the desk of the model.
There's a book in one of Balenciaga's photos that's written by Michaël Borremans, an artist who created "Fire from the Sun," which is a series of paintings depicting naked toddlers. pic.twitter.com/77ERZMyZPL
— nikki (@ateenyalien) November 23, 2022
Was that what the parents of these child models were thinking when they brought their children to the photo shoot with them?
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
One fashion photographer called out Kanye West’s photographer for his antisemitic comments. He also pointed out that he had seen Instagram stories about the controversy and was silent.
Important nuanced point :@shoe0nhead released all these images as a pack but if you look into it, this image featuring the child porn papers is actually from a separate Balenciaga x Adidas collab.
Important because Adidas does WAY more consumer sales in US. https://t.co/VMH7Ql23bw
— Hoop (@xhoop) November 23, 2022
Gabriele Galimberti, the photographer, made a statement shortly after the tweet.
“Following the many hate mails and messages that I received in response to the Balenciaga photos, I felt compelled to make this statement.”
He continued, “I am not in the position to comment on Balenciaga’s choices, but it must be stressed that I wasn’t entitled in any manner to choose the products, models, or combination thereof.”
He stated that he was allowed to only light the scene and shoot in his signature style, but that he could not control the “direction of the campaign” and the selection of objects displayed.
Whose control was it? This is what the lawsuit should find out quickly. It is important to remember that Balenciaga, or any other ad agency, may not be the final decision-maker and only someone who all parties agreed was disposable. Balenciaga’s campaign is a simple example of how Hollywood views children.
Balenciaga claims that they did not control the choice of objects and were unaware that court docs were being used in the campaign.
Balenciaga claims that North Six and Des Jardins included images of court docs in their files without their knowledge. This was either “malevolent” or “extremely reckless,” according to the filing claims.
“Defendants’ misconduct caused members of the public, including news media, to falsely and horribly associate Balenciaga and the deeply troubling subject of the court verdict,” the court papers claim. Balenciaga is liable for any harm caused by this false association.
Balenciaga’s campaign exploits more than just children. Balenciaga glorifies domestic violence (or BDSM).
Another photos from Balenciagas new ad campaign. A model with makeup to look like she has Black eyes.
— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) November 21, 2022
The first tactic used by the left to try to recall the episode was to call it a “right-wing conspiracy theory.”
Perez Hilton tried to say this is a right wing conspiracy on Tiktok. He’s not paying attention. I’ve yet to see a video defending them. Only this malaka. 🙄 WE ALL AGREE THE CP evidence was clear and we agree it’s depraved. It’s not political it’s WRONG. #perezhilton #Balenciaga pic.twitter.com/YidXQUibsv
— Scarlett James (@ScarlettJamesCC) November 25, 2022
Hilton admitted that he considered the campaign inappropriate, tacky, and lame. However, he said he didn’t consider it child porn. The ad makes very young children sexual objects and is at best indefensible.
Balenciaga resigned from Twitter in the wake of this scandal. She cited Elon Musk’s takeover for that reason. Was it Musk’s seriousness in removing child pornography from the site that was the reason they left?