Balenciaga apologises for “series of grievous errors” in new statement

The company said that "internal and external investigations" into its widely-condemned ad campaign are ongoing

Balenciaga has issued another apology for its controversial Christmas advertising campaign, and confirmed that investigations are ongoing.

Last week, the French luxury fashion house was widely condemned after it pulled a series of commercials that contained alleged sexualised images of children and court documents related to child pornography cases.

Figures from across the fashion industry and beyond voiced their criticisms and concerns on social media, with many calling on people to boycott the company.


Kanye West, who worked with Balenciaga before it cut ties with the rapper last month over his antisemitic comments, has since spoken about the controversy. His ex-wife Kim Kardashian – an ambassador for the brand – also addressed the issue.

“I am currently re-evaluating my relationship with [Balenciaga], basing it off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with — and the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children,” Kardashian wrote.

Having already posted two apologies, Balenciaga took to Instagram yesterday (November 28) to further explain the axed campaign.

“We would like to address the controversies surrounding our recent ad campaigns,” the latest statement began. “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 message continued: “The first campaign, the gift collection campaign, featured children with plush bear bags dressed in what some have labelled 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 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.”

Balenciaga went on: “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] papers most likely coming from the filming of a television drama. 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.”

Balenciaga store sign
Balenciaga. CREDIT: Getty

The apology added that “internal and external investigations” into the matter were “ongoing” before outlining the actions Balenciaga is taking, such as “revising” its collective ways of working.

“We are laying the groundwork with organisations who specialise in child protection [and aim] at ending child abuse and exploitation,” the company said. “We want to learn from our mistakes and identify ways we can contribute.

“Balenciaga reiterates its sincere apologies for the offence we have caused and extends its apologies to talents and partners.”

Meanwhile, Nicole Kidman has been criticised for not denouncing Balenciaga in the wake of the controversy.

At the time of writing (November 29), Kidman has not shared a statement about Balenciaga. Fans have been commenting on her Instagram post promoting the campaign, calling the actor “clueless” and “unconcerned”.

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