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Balenciaga Apologizes for “Sickening” Ads Featuring Children Holding Teddy Bears in Bondage Gear

The brand has since gone dark on social media

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James Fletcher, iStock

Balenciaga (Paris) crossed a line with a recent ad campaign that depicted toddlers holding teddy bears in bondage gear, prompting widespread criticism and calls to boycott the luxury fashion brand.

Beyond the teddy bears, the ads are littered with suggestive references to child abuse. One photo shows a document from a 2002 Supreme Court case, Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, which struck down two provisions of the Child Pornography Prevention Act. Another shows a book titled “Fire from the Sun,” which contains paintings of naked children.

Over the past few days, social media has been awash in condemnations of Balenciaga and those responsible for the campaign, with some characterizing it as “disturbing,” “sickening” and “evil.”

Amid the backlash, Balenciaga issued the following statement on Instagram:

“We sincerely apologize for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused. Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign. We have immediately removed the campaign from all platforms.”

The fashion house also said it’s “taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items for our spring 23 campaign photoshoot. We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form.”

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Balenciaga has since deleted its Twitter account, removed all posts from its Instagram page and restricted comments on existing Facebook posts.

Drawing on more than 120 years of history serving the retail design market, VMSD magazine provides retail professionals with the most up-to-date, innovative retail design ideas and industry news through its industry-leading magazine, website, social media channels and bulletins.

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