The biggest scandal in Balenciaga’s history has sparked a large-scale boycott movement. The online community is even calling for the brand’s products to be burned as a way of expressing their anger at the offensive advertising images.
Balenciaga scandal climax: a wave of clothes burning and a belated apology from demna gvasalia
Balenciaga is facing a lot of criticism for the last two campaigns that allegedly promote pornography and child abuse. One of the obvious, and somewhat brutal, moves to boycott Balenciaga is the trend of destroying the company’s stuff, which has unfortunately gone “viral” on TikTok. If you search for the keyword “Burn Balenciaga” or “Cancel Balenciaga”, it will not be difficult to see videos that cut or even burned, products posted on this social media platform.
Although known for its edgy, satirical, anti-fashion, and sometimes political stance, the backlash this time was out of control and anticipated by the French luxury fashion house and its director. Creative Demna Gvasalia. So what is the cause of the act of “the last drop of water”, what have Balenciaga and Demna herself lost in just over 2 weeks since this crisis?
In short, the scandal stemmed from its two Gift Shop and Garde-Robe campaigns. Specifically, the image of children posing next to BDSM-directed bruised teddy bear bags in Balenciaga’s Gift Shop campaign was released on November 16. The second is a documentary with excerpts from the 2008 Supreme Court decision in the Williams case appearing in the background during the Garde-Robe campaign.
That ruling made the promotion of child pornography illegal and not protected under the right of free speech. Criticism was immediately released and #CancelBalenciaga amassed hundreds of thousands of shares. Despite issuing an official apology, public opinion has not cooled down and continues to have moved to condemn the brand.
After the direct voices of Balenciaga and the stars involved, Creative Director Demna Gvasalia officially apologized on December 2. Excerpt from Gvasalia’s post:
“I would like to directly apologize for the wrong choice of art ideas for the children’s gift campaign and I am ready to take responsibility. This campaign is really inappropriate for children to advertise objects that are not appropriate for their age.
While I sometimes want to elicit thought through my work, I NEVER intend to do so in an unethical manner, in this case, child abuse.
I will definitely continue to learn, listen and engage with child protection organizations to find ways to contribute and redeem my mistakes. ”
The Georgian designer has also revoked the “Global Voice 2022” award presented by The Business of Fashion.
In addition to the brand itself and the operator, celebrities with a long-term partnership with Balenciaga are also at the forefront of the storm. Specifically here Ye and Kim Kardashian. But if Ye – who was previously terminated by Balenciaga, is breathing a sigh of relief when he avoids a big “destiny”, then the muse Kim K has a “wobble”. Not only was the online community buzzing, but Kim was also directly criticized by the African-American activist – Candace Owens for his delayed response (6 days since the scandal broke).
On November 25, Balenciaga officially filed a lawsuit in a New York court to hold the production company North Six and Nicholas Des Jardins responsible. Balenciaga accused the agency of engaging in “unexplainable omissions” and “malicious or at least extremely reckless”. Several documents were included in the campaign without their knowledge, including an excerpt from the 2008 Supreme Court decision in the Williams case. This has repeatedly created misunderstandings about the implication of child pornography.
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