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Balenciaga Apologizes For Advertisement Showcasing Minors Holding BDSM Teddy Bear Purses


French fashion brand Balenciaga apologized Tuesday after facing backlash over a recent advertisement that showed young children holding teddy bear purses dressed in bondage attire.

The brand, which celebrities like Kim Kardashian often wear, displayed images on its website earlier this week as part of its “Toy Stories” campaign. The images showed child models posing with the brand’s teddy bear handbags, with the bears dressed in BDSM gear from its Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2023 collection.

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


Balenciaga debuted the handbag line last October at the runway show in Paris, where models walked the catwalk with bruised faces and bloody noses carrying the teddy bears.

Social media users erupted in outrage on Monday over the fashion brand’s latest advertisement, which showed plush toys dressed in BDSM gear, including fishnet tops, studded leather harnesses, and collars with locks, according to The Independent.

Landon Starbuck, the founder of the non-profit Freedom Forever, which advocates protecting children from abuse, trafficking, and exploitation, called the campaign “absolutely demonic.”

“Balenciaga is fetishizing children by having them model with sexual BDSM paraphernalia,” Starbuck wrote on Twitter. “They’re participating in a bigger campaign making it fashionable to destroy the innocence of children.”

According to The Independent, in one of the images are documents from a 2008 Supreme Court opinion, United States vs. Williams — a federal statute prohibiting the “pandering” of child pornography, which reaffirmed the PROTECT Act, a federal law that increased penalties for sexual exploitation and other abuse of children.

Although some on social media believe the documents were from the 2002 Supreme Court case Ashcroft vs. Free Speech Coalition, in which justices struck down a portion of the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 that allowed virtual child pornography to be considered protected speech.

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Balenciaga further apologized for including the court documents in the campaign.

“We apologize for displaying unsettling documents in our campaign,” the company said. “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 campaign photoshoot.”

“We strongly condemn the abuse of children in any form,” they continued. “We stand for children safety and well-being.”

Starbuck, who further condemned the company for “parading it in our faces,” in reference to the documents, told The Daily Wire that her non-profit is putting out a call to action in response to Balenciaga’s apology.

“We’re calling not just on Balenciaga but on their parent group Kering to provide the public with appropriate accountability,” she said. “The scope and seriousness of these images can’t be reduced to a mere oversight issue or to a set design flaw. We demand that every person involved in these horrible decisions from conception to fruition be held accountable, fired, and named so that potential future employers know to never allow them to work with children again.”

“We also demand that the entire Kering group and it’s fashion subgroups (Balenciaga, Gucci, etc.) receive [Child Sex Abuse] informed prevention education taught by Survivor Experts to educate on grooming, sexual exploitation prevention and to help create a new workplace standard,” she added.

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Story cited here.

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