Balenciaga sued production company North Six Inc. earlier this week for its work on the brand’s controversial children’s ad campaign. and has decided to drop a $25 million lawsuit against set designer Nicholas Des Jardins.
The luxury fashion brand claimed that the company, along with Jardins, was involved in the 2008 United States vs. Williams” displays the legal documents of the decision.
In an official statement, the brand claimed that all items included in the filming process were provided by third parties, who confirmed in writing that the props were “fake office documents”. But it later turned out to be “genuine legal documents, most likely from the filming of a TV drama.”
However, Balenciaga CEO Cedric Charbit issued a new statement on Friday, saying that the brand had decided “not to proceed with litigation” but had initiated a series of measures in response to the situation in order to learn from its mistakes.
Effective immediately, the company will appoint an internal “drawing board” who will be responsible for evaluating the nature of its content “from concepts to final assets, including legal, sustainability and diversity expertise,” the statement explained.
The company also said it has appointed an external “best-in-class agency” to rate and evaluate its content. The brand has further reorganized its image department to ensure “full compliance with corporate guidelines”.
Meanwhile, the fashion house has decided to set up a separate fund to donate 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, saying:
“I would like to reiterate my sincere apologies and take responsibility for the offense I personally committed.”
He also stated that Balenciaga is here for the “safety of children” and will not tolerate “any kind of violence and hateful messages”.
However, the statement failed to convince social media users who said the new pledges “didn’t make a difference” as the brand was already “blacked out”:
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 bear purses while wearing clothes or posing around props that allude to themes of bondage and BDSM.
He was also criticized for his second ad for the Spring 2023 campaign, which featured images of printouts of documents from the Supreme Court’s 2008 child pornography ruling.
Twitter reacted to Balenciaga CEO Cedric Charbit’s decision to withdraw from the lawsuit
While the criticism continued to pour in online, Balenciaga said he wanted to “learn, help and contribute” to the protection of children. The brand has also decided to start “responsible communication training” among its teams.
The CEO also said his team will go on a “listening tour” to reach out and engage with child protection advocacy groups.