Balenciaga explains why child abuse ruling was in its photoshoot, blaming 'a third party'
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There has been another development in the Balenciaga child abuse controversy.
The fashion house has issued another apology and has given an explanation as to how text from a US Supreme Court ruling on child abuse material was included in an ad campaign.
It comes amid widespread online backlash, which includes brand ambassador Kim Kardashian saying she had been left "shaken by the disturbing images" of children holding fetish-themed teddy bears.
Two campaigns have led to accusations that the luxury brand promoted child abuse.
The first to emerge was a campaign where children were photographed holding teddy bears dressed in what appears to be bondage gear.
As a result, Kim Kardashian says she is "re-evaluating" her relationship with the company.
You can read more about the episode here.
The second apology for the teddy bear photo shoot is just below. But Balenciaga has also gone into more detail about its second controversial campaign.
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 Belenciaga, combined with out failure in assessing and validating images. The responsibility for this lie with Balenciaga alone.
In the wake of the initial scandal, internet sleuths drew attention to details in a second photo shoot.
The photo in question featured a handbag placed on top of a pile of documents that included a court ruling related to child abuse.
It was a US Supreme Court decision which upheld that a ban on child abuse material did not violate the right to free speech.
Basically, Balenciaga said it was not involved with putting the documents on the table.
The company said they were supplied by "a third party", and were used earlier in a television drama.
"All the items included in this shooting were provided by third parties that confirmed in writing that these props were fake office documents," Balenciaga said in the statement.
"They turned out to be real legal papers most likely coming from the filming of a television drama."
According to reports, Balenciaga has filed a $US25 million ($37 million) lawsuit against the company that produced the advertisements, North Six, and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins.
"The inclusion of these unapproved documents was the result of reckless negligence for which Balenciaga has filed a complaint," the Balenciaga statement continues.
"We take full accountability for our lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background and we could have done things differently."
Amelia Brankov, a lawyer for Des Jardins, said there "certainly was no malevolent scheme going on."
"As Balenciaga is aware, numerous boxes of documents simply were sourced from a prop house as rental items," she told AFP.
"Moreover, representatives from Balenciaga were present at the shoot, overseeing it and handling papers and props, and Des Jardins as a set designer was not responsible for image selection from the shoot," the lawyer added.
The company said internal and external investigations are ongoing and it is changing the way it operates.
OK, back to Kim Kardashian. You might have seen her hooded gown at the 2021 Met Gala? That was Balenciaga.
The company did a collaboration with The Simpsons, released a leather handbag that looks like a packet of potato chips and sells a $900 pair of high-heeled crocs.
And their edgy fashion shows have been mocked on social media.
The French-based company is owned by luxury multinational Kering, which also owns brands like Gucci, Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent.
Bravehearts, counselling and support for survivors of child sexual abuse: 1800 272 831
Lifeline, 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention: 13 11 14
PartnerSPEAK, peer support for non-offending partners: (03) 9018 7872
Find support services in your state or territory.
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