Balenciaga seeks $25 million in damages over controversial ad and apologizes amid backlash for ‘sexualizing children’ | Fashion trends

Kering SA’s Balenciaga is seeking at least $25 million in damages from the production company behind an ad campaign that made the luxury fashion house the target of fierce criticism at the start of the holiday shopping season. Balenciaga filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Friday, alleging that manufacturing company North Six Inc. and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins used documents related to a child pornography case from advertising campaign photos without permission.

As a result, the public and the media “falsely and appallingly associated Balenciaga with the repulsive and deeply disturbing subject matter,” the fashion house said in court documents. Balenciaga pulled the images following an uproar on social media.

A representative for North Six declined to comment. A representative for Des Jardins did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. (Also read | Balenciaga’s completely destroyed sneakers are trolled by netizens, you would buy them for 48k?)

Balenciaga reiterated its apology on Monday and said in a statement that it needed “full responsibility for our lack of oversight and control over the background documents,” saying: “We could have done things differently.”

The fashion brand also apologized again for a separate ad campaign that featured children holding teddy bears dressed in what appeared to be bondage gear. The company also removed those images.

The scandals have prompted influencer and businesswoman Kim Kardashian to say she is reevaluating her relationship with Balenciaga.

Kardashian has been featured in numerous ad campaigns for the brand, which is led by CEO Cedric Charbit and whose creative director is Demna. Last year, she appeared at the Met gala in a full Balenciaga outfit that covered her face.

On Sunday, Kardashian told her 334 million Instagram followers that her future relationship with the brand will be based on her “willingness to accept responsibility for something that should never have happened in the first place.”

“The safety of children must be held in the highest regard and any attempt to normalize child abuse of any kind should not occur in our society,” Kardashian said.

HSBC estimated in an April report that Balenciaga would generate about 1.76 billion euros ($1.82 billion) in sales in 2021.

The brand made headlines earlier this month when it stopped working with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, after he posted anti-Semitic posts. Ye is Kardashian’s ex-husband.

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