Bondage with Children: A Look at the New Messed-up Balenciaga Holiday Campaign

Bondage with Children: A Look at the New Messed-up Balenciaga Holiday Campaign

A huge wave of backlash and anger on social media is directed at the luxury fashion house Balenciaga over a controversial campaign, which led them to post an apology statement and delete all of their posts on Instagram.

This disturbing holiday campaign shows children carrying a stuffed bear that appears to be dressed in BDSM gear. Quite weird and disturbing, right? Wait until you know there was also a court document about virtual child porn as part of the decorations and set.  

What makes this even more sickening and messed up is that the photographer behind the shoot is Gabriele Galimberti, the guy behind the Toy Stories project

If you don’t know what that project is, well, it’s a creative project where Galimberti visited more than 50 countries for over two years to take pictures of kids with their toys. A truly innocent and lovely concept that resulted in heartwarming pictures that left us in awe. 

Like seriously, Balenciaga? Using an innocent idea to incorporate filthy pedophilic hints is such a low move. So many people admired the concept of this project, and seeing how it got manipulated and used in a horrible way like this in this campaign is really enraging. 

The photographer Gabriele published a statement on his Instagram account, which doesn’t make the situation any better. Instead, he simply blamed Balenciaga, saying that he had no choice in anything related to the art direction. 

But as a photographer, don’t you have a vision and a voice? So why would you allow them to misuse your concept in such a terrible way? That’s the problem. 

People on social media are now expressing their anger and frustration towards this campaign, and honestly, who can blame them? The campaign is indeed provoking.  

Balenciaga’s subtle hints of pedophilia in other ads

Their recent campaign opened a pandora’s box of how many of their ads are completely controversial.

Bondage with Children: A Look at the New Messed-up Balenciaga Holiday Campaign
Supreme court document about Child Porn

In one of Balenciaga’s photos, there’s a book that Michaël Borremans wrote, an artist who created “Fire from the Sun,” a series of paintings depicting naked toddlers.

Bondage with Children: A Look at the New Messed-up Balenciaga Holiday Campaign

In another photo, we can see a model posing with a framed certificate with the name “John Philip Fisher”; it’s the same name of a man who was accused of sexually molesting his granddaughter from the age of 4 to 16 years old.

Bondage with Children: A Look at the New Messed-up Balenciaga Holiday Campaign

Besides this, the company incorporated other disturbing themes in its ads, and this Twitter thread shows it all.

It doesn’t take a genius to know that this was 100% done on purpose, and whoever art-directed this shoot and was involved in the coordination needs to justify what was going on. Are pedophilia and sexualizing children the new aesthetics now? Pedophilia and child exploitation should never be a marketing tactic!

This whole situation gave us a glimpse of how messed-up big fashion houses and the celebrity world can be. But, at the end of the day, let’s remember always to speak up and call out those who take wrong actions and think they can get away with it just because they got money and publicity. 

What do you think?

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Written by Aya Salah

I’m Aya, a senior mass communication student. I’m interested in digital journalism and content writing, and I always try to develop myself in these fields.
I like hearing stories about people and life and love watching films.

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