Balenciaga shocks children and BDSM teddy bears in the campaign

A child with a BDSM teddy bear in his hand – Balenciaga advertises its Objects collection with these images. In the original version, the child’s face is seen uncensored.

Balenciaga

published

“Disturbing!”Balenciaga shocks children and BDSM teddy bears – child protection appalled

In Balenciaga’s latest campaign, children are holding BDSM-style teddy bears. The internet community is shocked and strongly criticizes the luxury brand. The Swiss child protection agency also condemned the campaign.

In fact, in its new Gift Shop campaign, Balenciaga wants homewares, pet apparel, scent and introduce everyday objects. But in that way Spanish fashion house the promotion of these items causes outrage in the fashion world.

In the images, various toddlers are dressed in Balenciaga’s children’s line, with dozens of objects from the Objects line in front of them. Some children are holding teddy bears that are inside BDSM accessories they are dressed.

On other items, BDSM teddies are only marginally visible, for example as one of many items spread out in front of children.

Here, a teddy bear with a BDSM harness is hiding in the upper right part of the picture.  The photographer has since deleted the images from his Instagram profile.

Here, a teddy bear with a BDSM harness is hiding in the upper right part of the picture. The photographer has since deleted the images from his Instagram profile.

Balenciaga

“Are we making pedophiles our customers now?”

The images have sparked controversy on social media. “It’s disturbing,” says one user. “Why is a child holding a teddy bear wearing slavery? Totally inappropriate,” said another user. “Are we now making pedophiles our customers?” the user asks. There is also the question of why Balenciaga is showing young children for a campaign whose products are aimed at adults. Despite the criticism, there are also a few hearts and words of praise among the posts, such as: “Sweet!”

The photos were taken by Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti and are based on his project Toy Stories, which shows children their favorite toys.

Images of children holding slave teddy bears sparked outrage on social media.

Images of children holding slave teddy bears sparked outrage on social media.

Balenciaga

Balenciaga previously featured slavery teddy bears in its Spring Summer 2023 show at the fair Paris Fashion Week. Bears are not officially available for purchase yet.

“Border crossing is normalized through such images”

“The way a child stands there holding a teddy bear – there’s just nothing wrong with it,” says Regula Bernhard-Hug of the Swiss Foundation for the Protection of Children on the 20 Minutes Lifestyle. “We often get questions about whether certain images are okay, but we’ve never seen anything this blatant,” says the expert. The campaign introduces the child into a sexual context through a bear wearing BDSM clothing and position. “This is reprehensible,” classifies the campaign expert. “People who satisfy their sexual needs with children come up with a strategy for why what they’re doing is okay.” Such images normalize border crossing. “Because it’s ‘just advertising,'” says Bernhard-Hug.

According to the expert, the pictures are going towards posing. Posing is when children are portrayed in a sexually and socially inappropriate manner. “Offenders use it to satisfy their sexual needs.” The fact that a child is so blatantly used to advertise adult products and make money is a clear violation of the child’s personality rights. “The children who were instrumentalized for this commercial bear the stamp for life.”

Child pornography court document

In addition to the controversial campaign images, Balenciaga was heavily criticized for another image. For Balenciaga’s Hourglass Bag ad, the Spanish fashion house shows a messy table with a luxury bag lying on it. There are various documents under the bag. One of them catches the attention of the Internet community.

“Balenciaga just posted an…interesting…photoshoot featuring virtual child pornography court documents,” wrote Twitter user Shoe.

As resourceful Internet users have discovered, one of those documents is said to be Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition from the early 2000s. In that case, it was decided that virtual child pornography was considered free speech. This includes, for example, computer-generated child pornography or pornography in which the performers may be mistaken for minors.

But like an online magazine Highsnobiety writes that the documentary is not the case of Ashcroft vs. Free Speech Coalition, but a copy of the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Williams upholding the PROTECT Act. This is a federal law criminalizing the advertising, promotion, display or distribution of child pornography.

Almost simultaneously with the release of Balenciaga’s most controversial campaign to date, the Spanish fashion house also left the news service Twitter. As many users have noticed, Balenciaga has also deleted campaign posts on Instagram. The fact that luxury brand campaigns disappear from social media after a short period of time is a common practice for Balenciaga and is part of its social media strategy.

Balenciaga apologizes

On Tuesday night, Balenciaga suddenly had all the campaign images that could still be found deleted, and the campaign images can no longer be found even on the photographer’s website. “We sincerely apologize for any hurt our Christmas campaign may have caused. Our teddy bear bags were not intended to be shown with children in this campaign. We immediately removed the campaign from all platforms,” ​​the luxury label apologizes in its Instagram story.

Balenciaga also apologizes for the documents that the Spanish label showed in the campaign: “We apologize for showing disturbing documents in our campaign. We take this matter very seriously.” Balenciaga now wants to take legal action against those responsible for the campaign, who would show “unapproved items” during the photo shoot. “We strongly condemn child abuse in any form. We are committed to the safety and well-being of children,” they conclude their an apology on Instagram.

Are you a minor and suffering from sexual violence? Or do you know a child who is experiencing sexual violence?

Cocoon, Counseling for Kinder, adolescents and young adults

Chestnut, Counseling center for sexual violence in children and adolescents

Victim Support Counseling Centers Switzerland

For the youth Council for Children and Youth, phone number 147

Are you a pedophile yourself and don’t want to become a criminal? You can get help from Forio and on UPK Basel.

Leave a Comment