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Balenciaga Sues Over Controversial Campaign

Balenciaga Sues Over Controversial Campaign

Recently, Balenciaga has made headlines for a series of controversies surrounding two of its campaigns. 


Now, Balenciaga is suing North Six, Inc., the production company behind the Spring 2023 ad campaign for at least $25 million.  According to the court documents, the campaign included particular paperwork from a 2008 Supreme Court ruling on child pornography that Balenciaga did not authorize and had no knowledge of. 


Balenciaga hired North Six and set designer, Nicholas Des Jardins, to shoot the Spring 2023 campaign. The campaign aimed to replicate a corporate environment posed in a “Manhattan office space.” However, what appeared to be clutter on a messy desk, actually contained a page from the Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Williams. In a statement to CNN, Balenciaga explained the ruling is a case “which confirms as illegal and not protected by freedom of speech the promotion of child pornography.”


Regarding the motivation behind including the Supreme Court paperwork, Balenciaga stated in the court summons that it believes the defendants’ “inexplicable acts and omissions were malevolent or, at the very least, extraordinarily reckless.”


However, Amelia K. Brankov, an attorney for Nicholas Des Jardins, refuted these claims in an emailed statement to CNN claiming, “there certainly was no malevolent scheme going on. As Balenciaga is aware, numerous boxes of documents simply were sourced from a prop house as rental items.”


Brankov continued, “Moreover, representatives from Balenciaga were present at the shoot, overseeing it and handling papers and props. And Des Jardins as a set designer was not responsible for image selection from the shoot.”


Balenciaga has issued an apology for the Spring 2023 campaign that included, “We take full accountability for our lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background and we could have done things differently.” 


Balenciaga also faced outrage and criticism for the recent Gift Collection Campaign in which children were photographed holding plush bears that were dressed in “what some have labeled BDSM-inspired outfits,” according to their statement. 


Balenciaga admitted that children should not have been featured in the Gift Collection and “the responsibility for this lies with Balenciaga alone.”

Image of Balenciaga logo.
Maggie Caraway