Kim Kardashian is finally speaking out about the controversial Balenciaga holiday ad campaign.
Kardashian, who frequently partners with Balenciaga—she was in the brand's winter ad and Paris fashion show—called the images in the ad "disturbing" and claimed she will be assessing their relationship.
Balenciaga's new holiday ad campaign has been criticized for sexualizing children, who were photographed in provocative positions holding teddy bears outfitted in bondage.
CBS News reported:
"The ads, which were said to be to promote Balenciaga's plush bear bags, were part of the brand's holiday campaign."
"The bears, however, are wearing BDSM gear and are being held by children that appear to be no more than 5 years old."
"In one of the pictures, a child is also surrounded by what appear to be wine and cocktail glasses."
\u201cBalenciaga, which has come under fire for images from two different ad campaigns, apologized Monday, saying it takes full accountability \u2014 and that it is reaching out to \u201corganizations who specialize in child protection.\u201d https://t.co/ldDpwSmRGj\u201d— CBS Mornings (@CBS Mornings) 1669729564
Kardashian spoke out about the controversy on both Twitter and Instagram.
She first posted:
"I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven't been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened."
\u201cI have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven\u2019t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened.\u201d— Kim Kardashian (@Kim Kardashian) 1669593523
She continued with a string of statements, first addressing the photos.
"As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images."
"The safety of children must be held with the highest regard and any attempts to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society - period."
As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images. The safety of children must be held with the highest regard and any attempts to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society — period.
— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) November 27, 2022
She followed with her appreciation of the brand's removal of the ad.
"I appreciate Balenciaga's removal of the campaigns and apology."
"In speaking with them, I believe they understand the seriousness of the issue and will take the necessary measures for this to never happen again."
I appreciate Balenciaga’s removal of the campaigns and apology. In speaking with them, I believe they understand the seriousness of the issue and will take the necessary measures for this to never happen again.
— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) November 27, 2022
And finally, she spoke on her partnership with the brand moving forward.
"As for my future with Balenciaga, I am currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand, basing off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with - & the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children."
As for my future with Balenciaga, I am currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand, basing it off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with — & the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children.
— Kim Kardashian (@KimKardashian) November 28, 2022
Many chimed in on Twitter, questioning the sincerity of Kardashian's statement.
The common thread was people will believe her stance on the issue when she cuts ties with Balenciaga.
I don’t believe that you’re being sincere at all. I think you were just hoping that it would blow over. There’s no way that they paid for an ad campaign, didn’t look it over thoroughly before they put it out there. Seems like it’s more about money for you.
— Nina B! (@MinnyAppleNiNi) November 27, 2022
This statement means absolutely nothing if you continue your relationship with Balenciaga!
— Zeina Alhalabi (@alhalabi_zeina) November 28, 2022
Translation- even though they are sexualizing children, I will still work with them because it will affect my coin and social status
— Ball buster (@Ballbus09623665) November 28, 2022
No. They were promoting child 👏🏽 sexual 👏🏽 abuse 👏🏽. How on EARTH can you say they "understand the severity" and still work with them, especially as a mom?? This shows how sheltered you are. No concept of the impact this has on victims. Disgusting.
— Angry Asian 🥟 (@wheezy_dobby) November 28, 2022
Delete this again and come back with the right statement. One that says "I am cutting ties with Balenciaga due to the disturbing images in their campaign involving children." The only statement that should have been made.
— Gina (@JustGina4Now) November 28, 2022
Others shifted the attention to how it happened in the first place.
What exactly you expect her to say or so? She didn't create that horrible campaign 🙄🙄
— Deestraction 🦋 President 🧜🏼♀️ (@duh_dee) November 28, 2022
A team of ppl got together and decided to do an ad campaign. They came up with this trash and hired all kinds of help to make it happen. Then, once pics were taken and edited, they released them after much discussion. That's how something like this could "happen."
— Prusmama (@LadyPrusma) November 28, 2022
For that campaign to come to light, everyone in Balenciaga accepted that it was suitable for the public. Nobody is going to believe in false excuses that they gave after this controversy. pic.twitter.com/D3ZiQCB7ai
— The Booty Hypnotic✨ (@tillsammanss) November 28, 2022
Why are they scapegoating the photographer? Doesn’t sound like they are taking accountability.
— Thomas Reynolds (@tpreynolds) November 28, 2022
The photographer—Gabriele Galimberti—issued a statement on Instagram.
He stated he "was not entitled in whatsoever manner to neither choose the products, nor the models, nor the combination of the same."
"As a photographer, I was only and solely requested to [light] the given scene, and take the shots according to my signature style."
"As usual for a commercial shooting, the direction of the campaign and the choice of the objects displayed are not in the hands of the photographer."
Along with removing the images from all of its platforms, Balenciaga issued an apology:
"We sincerely apologize for any offense our holiday campaign many have caused."
"Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign."
They also stated they strongly condemn the "abuse of children in any form."