Balenciaga’s latest ad campaign has been a hot topic. The brand used imagery that was heavily linked to the abuse of children, specifically sexual abuse. It also mentioned Baal, the Canaanite god to whom children were sacrificed.
One of the pics from the Balenciaga child photos has Balenciaga spelled on tape spelled BAALenciaga pic.twitter.com/74n3Dwwf7H
— Vade 𓁼 (@pope_head) November 23, 2022
The brand apologized profusely after the campaign caused a rift in the company’s image. They even threatened to sue the advertiser.
It would seem that the designer has offered an apology. However, the apology raises more questions than answers.
The designer posted the apology on Instagram. It reads in its entirety:
I am sorry for making a poor choice in the concept of the gifting campaign for the children. I accept full responsibility. It was wrong for children to promote objects that had nothing whatsoever to do with them.
Although I sometimes wish to provoke thought through my writing, I wouldn’t have any intention of doing that with an awful subject like child abuse. Period.
To learn and to help, I must listen to this and engage with child protective organizations.
Balenciaga has assured us that appropriate measures will be taken to prevent similar errors in the future and to hold us accountable for protecting children’s welfare in any way possible.
Some oddities stand out immediately.
One, he stated that he wouldn’t “ever have the intention” to do so with child abuse that he condemned.
It is clear that his intention was everything when you look at the details of his work. Some elements of the shoot required a lot of thought and planning, such as the references to Baal and court documents that refer to a Supreme Court child porn case and to a painter who created a series of nude toddlers that cannibalized other toddlers. This does not include the BDSM-branded teddy bears.
It is hard to believe that anyone would blindly put so much detail into a photo shoot. You can see the court documents clearly in the photo shoot. The BDSM bears are incredibly difficult to miss.
This makes his remaining apology look like someone who just wants people to hear what he has to say. Even the part about learning from it and listening to others feels like a cliché line from someone about to be completely canceled. Also, you should apologize if someone is offended. This is not the same as saying “sorry, you’re mad” but “sorry that I did what I did.”
While he may be bad at apologizing, and he may be truly sorry, acting as if he didn’t intend to create the art he did is so difficult to swallow that it might as well be impossible. The shoot is full of evil, especially against children.
Personally, I don’t think I believe the apology. It could be read in a sarcastic tone, and the words would still sound correct. I would be willing to wager that this man didn’t learn anything and that his future work will prove it.