Balenciaga apologizes after backlash over ad showing kids with bondage teddy bears

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The fashion label posted a statement on its Instagram Story

Luxury fashion brand Balenciaga has apologized after comments on a recent ad campaign that showed children holding teddy bears dressed in bondage clothing. The ad campaign featuring little girls and bondage-themed toys was deemed “inappropriate” and “disturbing” by several users.

On Tuesday, the fashion label posted a statement on its Instagram Story. “We apologize for displaying disturbing documents in our campaign. We take this matter very seriously and are taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items for our Spring 23 photo shoot campaign. We strongly condemn the abuse of children in any form. We stand for the safety and well-being of children,” the statement said.

In another Instagram story, the brand said that “the plush bear bags shouldn’t have featured on children in this campaign” and added that images from the campaign have been removed from all of the brand’s platforms.

See the photos here:

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The ads, originally posted earlier this week, were used to promote the site’s Christmas gift shop. The photos showed children posing with teddy bears dressed in bondage gear, including fishnet tops, lockable collars and ankle/wrist cuffs.

These are the images in question:

The photos drew sharp criticism online, with many accusing Balenciaga of sexualizing children. Many called the campaign “problematic” and criticized the brand while questioning the appropriateness of the photos.

Even after the brand apologized for the photos, some online users said they don’t believe Balenciaga’s apology. One user commented on the apology saying, “Nice to try Balenciaga. Let’s just do away with all law enforcement and enforce apologies. Imagine that kind of world? Whoa wait, we’re in it NOW! Enough with child exploitation! Balenciaga – leave the kids ALONE or pay the LEGAL IMPACT.”

Another user wondered why the brand chose to post the apology on their Instagram stories instead of their page. He wrote: “Is Balenciaga evading responsibility by blaming the sets designers or am I tripping? What were the unapproved items? Did they JUST realize that kids shouldn’t be involved after they were called up? This one an apology doesn’t solve anything.”

The apology comes just days after the brand deleted its Twitter account.

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