Kering SA’s Balenciaga is seeking at least $25 million in damages from the production company behind an ad campaign that made the luxury fashion house the target of heavy criticism at the start of the season. holidays.
Balenciaga filed a lawsuit Friday in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleging that production company North Six Inc. and interior designer Nicholas Des Jardins used materials related to a child pornography case in photos of advertising campaign without permission.
As a result, the public and the media “falsely and horribly associated Balenciaga with this repugnant and deeply disturbing subject matter,” the fashion house said in court documents. Balenciaga removed the images following an outcry on social media.
A representative for North Six declined to comment. A representative for Des Jardins did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Balenciaga reiterated its apology on Monday and said in a statement that it takes “full responsibility for our lack of background monitoring and document control,” saying, “We could have done things differently.”
The fashion label also apologized again for a separate ad campaign featuring children holding teddy bears dressed in what appeared to be bondage gear. The company also removed those images.
The scandals have led famous influencer and businesswoman Kim Kardashian to say she is reassessing her relationship with Balenciaga.
Kardashian has been featured in numerous ad campaigns for the brand, led by chief executive Cedric Charbit and whose creative director is Demna. Last year, she appeared at the Met Gala in a full Balenciaga outfit that covered her face.
On Sunday, Kardashian told her 334 million Instagram followers that her future relationship with the brand will be based on her “willingness to accept responsibility for something that should never have happened in the first place.”
“Child safety should be held in the highest regard and any attempt to normalize child abuse in any way should have no place in our society,” Kardashian said.
HSBC estimated in an April report that Balenciaga generated around 1.76 billion euros ($1.82 billion) in sales in 2021.
The brand made headlines earlier this month when it quit working with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, after posting anti-Semitic messages. Ye is Kardashian’s ex-husband.
By Angelina Rascouet, Jeannette Neumann
Kim Kardashian ‘re-evaluates’ Balenciaga deal after Bondage ad crisis
The brand later said it was “carefully reviewing its organization” as it continues to face widespread backlash over a campaign featuring children modeling BDSM-inspired products.