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Balenciaga apologizes, accuses photographer of ‘disgusting’ campaign

Fashion brand Balenciaga apologizes for a photo shoot featuring a child holding a teddy bear dressed in a BDSM outfit that infuriated many.

Balenciaga, a globally known Spanish fashion house that dresses Kim Kardashian and Nicole Kidman, among others, seems to blame Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti.

They released a statement on Tuesday apologizing for the photo shoot and seemingly suggesting they would take legal action against Galimberti and everyone else involved.

Perhaps even more bizarre, a Twitter user discovered an Easter egg in the shoot, with one of the photos excerpted from the U.S. Supreme Court opinion in United States v. Williams, which upheld part of a federal child pornography law.

The statement read: “We sincerely apologize for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused. Our plush bear bags should not have been placed with children in this campaign. We have immediately removed the campaign from all platforms.’

We apologize for displaying disturbing documents in our campaign. We take this matter very seriously and are taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including non-approved items for our Spring 23 campaign photo shoot. We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for the safety and well-being of children.”

Balenciaga, a globally known Spanish fashion house that dresses Kim Kardashian and Nicole Kidman, among others, seems to blame photographer Gabriele Galimberti

Fashion brand Balenciaga apologizes for what many believe is a photoshoot that amounts to child pornography, featuring a child holding a teddy bear dressed in a BDSM outfit

Fashion brand Balenciaga apologizes for what many believe is a photoshoot that amounts to child pornography, featuring a child holding a teddy bear dressed in a BDSM outfit

Fashion brand Balenciaga apologizes for what many believe is a photoshoot that amounts to child pornography, featuring a child holding a teddy bear dressed in a BDSM outfit

The bondage-clad teddy bears are actually handbags that hit the catwalk earlier this year

The bondage-clad teddy bears are actually handbags that hit the catwalk earlier this year

The bondage-clad teddy bears are actually handbags that hit the catwalk earlier this year

Balenciaga released a statement on Tuesday apologizing for the photoshoot and seemingly suggesting they take legal action against Galimberti and everyone else involved

Balenciaga released a statement on Tuesday apologizing for the photoshoot and seemingly suggesting they take legal action against Galimberti and everyone else involved

Balenciaga released a statement on Tuesday apologizing for the photoshoot and seemingly suggesting they take legal action against Galimberti and everyone else involved

The photographer Galimberti promoted the images as part of a project series he dubbed “Toy Stories,” in clear reference to the Disney/Pixar film series, according to the Daily Dot.

He writes about the project on his website: ‘Over two years I have visited more than 50 countries and made colorful images of boys and girls in their homes and neighborhoods with their most precious possession: their toys.’

From Texas to India, Malawi to China, Iceland, Morocco and Fiji, I’ve captured the spontaneous and natural joy that unites children despite their diverse backgrounds. Whether the child owns a veritable fleet of miniature cars or a single stuffed monkey, the pride they have is touching, funny and thought-provoking.”

According to his website, Galimberti has been featured in National Geographic, The Sunday Times, Stern, Geo, Le Monde, La Repubblica, and Marie Claire.

His work has also been exhibited in museums in England and Switzerland.

Galimberti doesn’t appear to have addressed the controversy, though Instagram commentators have flooded some of his photos and harshly criticized the photosets as child pornography.

Balenciaga previously had two images of young children cuddling with the plush handbags on their website that now appear to have been wiped out.

The first photo in the online store shows a young red-haired child standing on a soft pink bed, holding a white teddy bag by the leather strap.

Not only does the bear have spiked leather bracelets on the bear’s arms and legs, he’s also dressed in a mesh crop top with a chain and a padlock around his neck.

The gift shop section of the website features another image of a child standing on a couch and holding a purple furry toy bag.

Italian photographer Galimberti promoted the images as part of a project series he called “Toy Stories,” an obvious reference to the Disney/Pixar film series.

Outraged parents labeled the images on social media as 'creepy and wrong'

Outraged parents labeled the images on social media as 'creepy and wrong'

Outraged parents labeled the images on social media as ‘creepy and wrong’

Along with a leather S&M outfit, the plush toy also wears what appears to be a black lace thong.

In the background of the image, a blue toy bag is placed on a side table, which is wrapped in more studded leather straps.

While the bags are not yet for sale on their website, the images were created to promote the items in their gift range – including reusable coffee cups and a dog harness.

Unsurprisingly, the campaign images have caused quite a stir among parents on social media – labeling them as ‘creepy’ and ‘awkward’.

“Frightening how many adults must have been involved in this,” one Twitter user mused. “Parents, photographers, creative directors, copywriters, design agency employees, producers, managers, advertisers… and none of them thought, ‘Wait a minute?'”

Parents were surprised that the photo shoot received approval, with some labeling the footage as “uncomfortable.”

Mumsnet users were outraged by the images, accusing the brand of trying to 'shock' people

Mumsnet users were outraged by the images, accusing the brand of trying to 'shock' people

Mumsnet users were outraged by the images, accusing the brand of trying to ‘shock’ people

Another ranted, “Jesus, that’s just scary and wrong.”

On Mumsnet, parents objected to the “deeply inappropriate” photo shoot.

One wrote: ‘B****y typical of Balenciaga. They jerk to get attention for their overpriced crap. It’s like a social experiment on how ridiculous their products are, yet people buy the garbage.

“However, this is disgusting and borders on depravity. I can’t fathom what possessed this child’s parents to think this is normal.”

“That’s a very uncomfortable image,” added another.

Conservative commentator Candace Owens called on Kim Kardashian and sister Khloe to condemn the photo shoots.

Owens tweeted: It was so great to see @KimKardashian use her platform to condemn antisemitism. Let’s see if she will use that same platform to condemn the blatant child pornography documents promoted in #Balenciaga ads since she is one of the faces of the brand. @khloekardashian – you too!’

Last Monday, Kardashian was spotted wearing Balenciaga as she left her LA office after a shoot.

The reality star, 42, was seen with Balenciaga and Adidas, two of the designers who dropped West, 45, after his recent anti-Semitic tirades.

Kim wore a top from the collaboration of the two designers, a black long-sleeved shirt with white stripes on the sleeve and the names of the brands in the center of the chest.

Last Monday, Kardashian was spotted wearing Balenciaga as she left her LA office after a shoot

Last Monday, Kardashian was spotted wearing Balenciaga as she left her LA office after a shoot

Last Monday, Kardashian was spotted wearing Balenciaga as she left her LA office after a shoot

Giving a statement?  Kim wore a top from the two designers' recent collaboration, a black long-sleeved shirt with white stripes on the sleeve and the names of the brands in the center of the chest

Giving a statement?  Kim wore a top from the two designers' recent collaboration, a black long-sleeved shirt with white stripes on the sleeve and the names of the brands in the center of the chest

Not so fancy footwear!  Kim showed off her toned legs as she stepped out of the car wearing black flip flops

Not so fancy footwear!  Kim showed off her toned legs as she stepped out of the car wearing black flip flops

Giving a statement? Kim wore a top from the two designers’ recent collaboration, a black long-sleeved shirt with white stripes on the sleeve and the names of the brands in the center of the chest

Kim showed off her toned legs as she stepped out of the car wearing black flip flops. She also appeared to be wearing black Balenciaga sunglasses.

Her hair dangled in loose, wispy waves down her chest, and her natural beauty was enhanced with a layer of lip gloss that brightened up her look.

Kim also appeared to be digging for her ex on Instagram on Monday.

She once again wore a Balenciaga x Adidas top along with a pair of black Balenciaga boots. “Hey,” she captioned the photo.

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