Balenciaga claims it had no control over the props in photoshoot

Balenciaga claims it had no control over the props in photoshoot where SCOTUS child porn documents were hidden behind handbag as it sues production company… but apologizes for ‘lack of oversight’ and says BDSM bears were a mistake

  • Balenciaga claimed that ‘all of the props’ in the now infamous July photoshoot were provided by a ‘third party’
  • The fashion house apologized for its ‘lack of oversight and control’ and said: ‘We could have done things differently’, but it maintains it was not a deliberate creative decision 
  • The brand has apologized for the holiday ad campaign which featured young children with bondage bears 
  • North Six, the brand behind the production company, says it’s being made to be a ‘scapegoat’ for the brand
  • ‘Everyone from Balenciaga was on the shoot and was present on every shot and worked on the edit of every image in post production,’  Gabriela Moussaieff, an agent for set director Nicholas Des Jardins, said 
  • The brand is facing a major boycott from fans and celebrities who were disgusted by the two campaigns 

Balenciaga issued a lengthy statement on Monday claiming it had no control over the props used in his Spring ’23 ad campaign where a printout of a SCOTUS ruling on child porn was photographed behind a handbag, after filing a notice that it planned to sue the production company responsible. 

The fashion house from Spain is suing ad production company North Six Inc., as well as set designer Nicholas Des Jardins and his own brand for including images of legal documents on the US Supreme Court’s decision on child pornography laws in the ad campaign. 

Uproar over the campaign came days after the brand was called out over a separate ad campaign that was entirely its own doing, which showed young children posing with bondage-clad teddy bears. 

In an Instagram statement on Monday, Balenciaga once again doubled down on the claim that it had nothing to do with the SCOTUS ruling making it into the shot that ended up on its website. 

In an Instagram statement on Monday, Balenciaga once again doubled down on the claim that it had nothing to do with the SCOTUS ruling making it into the shot that ended up on its website

‘All the items included in this shooting were provided by third parties that confirmed in writing these props were fake…they turned out to be real 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,’ it said. 

The statement went on: ‘We take full accountability for our lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background and we could have done things differently.’ 

North Six did not produce the teddy bear ads, but it came into the frame with the SCOTUS printout after the teddy bear bag controversy erupted.  Because both were produced independently, as different campaigns at different times of the year, many critics say they point to a disturbing pattern within the brand.

Balenciaga has apologized for the teddy bear ads and removed them from its site. It however is seeking to blame the SCOTUS printout on North Six and set producer Nicholas Des Jardins. 

This is the July ad campaign which featured the printout of the SCOTUS child porn ruling 

One of the ad’s photos contained an excerpt from the US Supreme Court opinion in United States v. Williams, which upheld part of a federal child pornography law, which Twitter’s own fact-checkers confirmed

As a result of Defendants’ misconduct, members of the public, including the news media, have falsely and horrifically associated Balenciaga with the repulsive and deeply disturbing subject of the court decision,’ court documents reveal.

‘Defendants are liable to Balenciaga for all harm resulting from this false association.’ 

The lawsuit has not yet been filed. An attorney for the brand told that they had no comment on the planned legal action. 

The 2008 Supreme Court ruling United States v Williams examined if laws against the promotion of child pornography were in violation of the first amendment. It was seized on by critics last week after the controversial teddy bear ads sparked fury online.  

The ruling determined that offering or requesting to transfer, sell, deliver, or trade child pornography did not violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, even if a person charged under the code did not in fact possess child pornography with which to trade. 

The late Justice Antonin Scalia noted specifically that offers to engage in illegal transactions are categorically excluded from First Amendment protection.

On Tuesday, Balenciaga publicly apologized and announced that it will be removing the ad from all of its social media profiles. 

‘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 high-end luxury house shared on Instagram. 

Fashion brand Balenciaga is suing the producers of an ad campaign that many believe translates to child pornography, with a child holding a teddy bear dressed in a BDSM outfit

Balenciaga, which is popular with A-list celebrities including the likes of Kim Kardashian – has deleted two shocking images showing two young girls holding a teddy bear in bondage style gear on the gift shop section of its website

As of last week, Balenciaga did not only delete all of its posts related to ads for its Spring 2023 collection on Instagram but also wiped out its entire page

Earlier this month, the Paris-based company said that its controversial ad ‘iterates on the artist’s series Toy Stories, an exploration of what people collect and receive as gifts,’ according to a press release. 

It went on to say that it would feature ‘dozens of new products ranging from homeware, pet wear and scent, from everyday items to limited-edition collectibles and bespoke furniture.’ 

Some of the pictures were shot by Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti, who is perhaps best known for his work with National Geographic. 

On his Instagram page, Galimberti issued a statement saying that he was not in creative control of the shoot and merely was in charge of lighting.

He said: ‘I am not in a position to comment [on] Balenciaga’s choices, but I must stress that I was not entitled in whatsoever manner to neither chose (sic) the products, nor the models, nor the combination of the same.’


Prior to the lawsuit, the brand had previously stated that it will pursue legal action against those found to be responsible for the scandal surrounding the controversial ad

Galimberti continued: ‘As a photographer, I was only and solely requested to lit (sic) the given scene, and take the shots according to my signature style.

‘As usual, the direction of the campaign and of the shooting are not on the hands of the photographer.’

He concluded: ‘I suspect that any person prone to pedophilia searches on the web and has unfortunately a too easy access to images completely different than mine, absolutely explicit in their awful content. Lynching like these are addressed against wrong targets, and distract from the real problem, and criminals.’

Galimberti also said that he had nothing to do with the photos of the Supreme Court documents.

Meanwhile, the father of a British child model who posed in the campaign has defended the photoshoot, previously telling that his daughter had a ‘fantastic time’ on set. 

Balenciaga is typically associated with A-list celebrities such as Kim Kardashian but in the fallout from this most recent scandal, model Bella Hadid deleted an Instagram post promoting the brand, but has left several others up that promote Balenciaga.

Balenciaga was founded by Spanish monarchist Cristobal Balenciaga in 1991. 

The current creative director of the brand is Georgia native Demna Gvasalia. 

In 2001, the company, which quotes annual revenues of nearly two billion, was acquired by Kering from Gucci.

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