Balenciaga has decided to drop the $25 million lawsuit it filed against production company North Six Inc. and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins earlier this week for his work in the controversial children’s advertising campaign of the Mark.
The luxury fashion brand claimed the company, alongside Jardins, posted legal documents from the 2008 ‘US v Williams’ child pornography decision without the brand’s knowledge.
In an official statement, the brand claimed that all items included in the shooting process were provided by third parties, who confirmed in writing that the props were “false office documents”. However, it later turned out to be “real legal papers most likely from the filming of a TV drama”.
However, Balenciaga CEO Cédric Charbit issued a new statement on Friday, saying the brand has decided “not to sue” but to launch a series of actions in response to the situation with the aim of Learn from one’s mistakes.
The statement explained that the company would appoint an internal “image committee” with immediate effect, which will be responsible for assessing the nature of its content, from “concepts to final assets, including legal, sustainability and diversity expertise. “.
The company said it has also appointed an external “first-rate agency” to review and assess its content. The brand has further revamped its image department to ensure “full alignment with corporate guidelines”.
Meanwhile, the fashion house has also decided to organize a separate fund to give donations to organizations that can “help make a difference in protecting children”.
CEO Cedric Charbit also added a personal note at the end of the statement and said:
“I would like to personally reiterate my sincere apologies for the offense caused and take responsibility.”
He also mentioned that Balenciaga stands together for the “safety of children” and would not tolerate “any kind of message of violence and hatred”.
However, the statement failed to convince social media users who said the new promises “don’t matter” because the brand has already been “tarnished”:
Balenciaga has come under fire for launching a controversial ad campaign for its Gift Shop collection featuring photos of children holding the brand’s plush handbags while wearing outfits or posing around accessories apparently alluding to the bondage and BDSM themes.
He also came under fire for a second ad for his Spring 2023 campaign that consisted of images displaying printouts of documents from the 2008 Supreme Court ruling on child pornography.
Twitter reacts to Balenciaga CEO Cédric Charbit’s decision to drop charges
As criticism continues to pour in online, Balenciaga said it wants to “learn, help and contribute” to child protection. The brand has also decided to launch “responsible communication training” for its teams.
The CEO also said his team would go on a “listening tour” to interact and engage with child protection advocacy groups.