After teddy bear backlash, Balenciaga announces lawsuit over separate ad

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Balenciaga had apologized hours earlier for its new holiday campaign featuring children holding bags shaped like teddy bears wearing bondage gear when another controversy erupted last week. It led to the luxury fashion house issuing its second apology in a day after a Supreme Court ruling on child pornography laws was spotted in a previous announcement.

A print from 2008 United States vs. Williams decision, which ruled on the constitutionality of the law prohibiting the pimping of child pornography, was photographed among papers strewn on a desk in a black and white handbag advertisement which sells for over $3,000. Now, Balenciaga has announced that it will be taking legal action against production company, North Six, and set designer, Nicholas Des Jardins, for its Spring 2023 campaign.

The fashion house alleged that “inexplicable acts and omissions” committed without Balenciaga’s knowledge were “malicious or, at the very least, extraordinarily reckless,” according to court documents filed Friday in the Supreme Court of the State of Balenciaga. New York for New York County. The company says it will seek at least $25 million in damages for the resulting “false association” between Balenciaga and the “repugnant and deeply disturbing subject matter of the court ruling.”

Balenciaga did not respond to a Washington Post request for comment. North Six declined to comment on the allegations.

Des Jardins’ agent Gabriela Moussaieff told the Post that the legal documents used in the ad “were obtained from a prop house which were rental pieces used on the film. [and] photo shoots.

“Everyone from Balenciaga was on set and was present on every shot and worked on the editing of every frame in post-production,” Moussaieff said, adding that Des Jardins “is being used as a scapegoat” and is hiring a crew. legal.

The image, which appeared on Balenciaga’s website, was taken in July. It featured the “Hourglass” handbag, a Balenciaga and Adidas mix featuring the sporty brand’s famous white stripes on black leather and a letter “B” shaped buckle. A printed copy of the Supreme Court’s decision comes out of a Manila folder under the bag in the advertisement.

The ad became the second to be taken down by Balenciaga last week – a move announced by the company in a statement which also apologized “for posting troubling material to our campaign”.

“We strongly condemn child abuse in any form,” the statement added. It followed a separate statement in which the company apologized for the way children appeared in its holiday advertisements.

The fallout began earlier this month, when Balenciaga unveiled its “Toy Stories” holiday campaign, which was shot by National Geographic photographer Gabriele Galimberti. The images in this ad campaign resemble Galimberti’s previous work featuring children surrounded by their toys. In this case, however, the children were photographed near wine glasses and other trinkets, while holding battered-eyed teddy bears who were dressed in fishnet tops and leather harnesses.

While Balenciaga has also removed the teddy bear ads, a spokesperson for the fashion house told the Daily Mail that Galimberti’s shooting will not face trial.

In a statement posted to his Instagram account last week, the award-winning Italian photographer said he had no say in the props or models used for filming.

“I was only and only asked to [light] the given scene and shoot the photos in my signature style,” Galimberti wrote. “As usual for a commercial shoot, the direction of the campaign and the choice of exhibits are not in the hands of the photographer.”

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Priscilla Gonzalez, 27, a stylist and fashion content creator based in Mexico, called Balenciaga’s “Toy Stories” campaign an “attempt to ‘give people something to say’ that went horribly wrong”.

The forward-thinking fashion house has earned a reputation for being “almost an anti-fashion brand,” Gonzalez said, stretching the line of what’s cool with its collections inspired by “The Simpsons” and Crocs. Earlier this year, he launched a $1,500 leather pouch designed to look like a bag of Lay chips.

“But how much can you challenge what’s cool?” González said. “There’s a fine line between being creative and basically using children as props or having them pose with inappropriate objects.”

In the age of social media, negative reactions to advertisements have spread quickly. After Balenciaga apologized for the teddy bear bags he said ‘shouldn’t have featured with children’, eagle-eyed social media users ‘started looking at previous campaigns almost with a magnifying glass and ended up in the spring 2023 announcement with the child pornography case document,” Gonzalez said.

Balenciaga has now been vetted for both ad campaigns. Kim Kardashian, who frequently wears Balenciaga items and has appeared in several of its campaigns, said in a statement on Sunday that she is “currently reassessing my relationship with the brand, basing it on their willingness to accept responsibility for something that never should have happened to begin with” and “the actions I expect to see them take to protect the children”.

Gonzalez said she would also like to see the brand take responsibility for the ads.

“All of these decisions go through so many levels of approval and eyes,” she said. “So who approved this and where did it all go wrong? There really has to be a certain responsibility within Balenciaga.

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Gonzalez, who considered Balenciaga one of his favorite brands, said there was a lesson for the fashion industry to learn from back-to-back advertising controversies: “Brands can’t get away with these mistakes anymore. massive.”

“In this digital age where anything can go viral and anyone can investigate, consumers have a very strong and loud voice,” she said.

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