The bold, the bad, and the “disgusted.”
The Spring 2023 Balenciaga controversial ad campaign sparked outrage almost as soon as it dropped. On Tuesday, Nov. 22, the brand released a series of photos featuring young children photographed holding teddy bears wearing BDSM-esque harnesses. As scrutiny intensified, critics on social media pointed out that other images included printed Supreme Court decisions over the legality of child pornography and a Michaël Borremans art book as props, the latter featuring, among other subjects, “naked children and adults engaging in cannibalism,” according to reports. While the Spanish luxury label has apologized and scrubbed the images from the internet and is taking legal action against several parties involved with the shoot, fans are still clamoring for accountability from both Balenciaga and celebrities associated with the brand.
In the week since the photos were posted, celebrities like Bella Hadid, Bethenny Frankel, and Kanye West have shared, or appeared to share, their opinions on Balenciaga’s controversial ad. From issuing a written statement like Kardashian to removing some, but not all, brand-related Instagram posts from their feeds like Bella Hadid, celebrities are speaking out against the sexualization of children.
However, some fans are disappointed that so few A-listers have issued statements of condemnation over the campaign. As one Twitter user wrote, “When Elon Musk bought Twitter, I saw celebrities noticeably upset. Some even bought Volkswagens. We heard “Stay home. Save lives.” From almost every celebrity in cute pajamas on IG. But when it comes to Balenciaga sexualizing children, silence.” While there hasn’t been a huge outcry among celebrities yet, there have been a handful of stars who have spoken up about the ad. Here’s every celebrity comment — or potential commentary — on the controversial Balenciaga ad.
On Monday, Nov. 28, Julia Fox weighed in on the controversy via TikTok. The model first established her lack of connection with Balenciaga. “I have zero relationship with the brand. I’ve never even been to one of their shows. They haven’t invited me,” she said. The DIY queen then went on to share that while she found the ads horrific, she questioned why the women professionally associated with Balenciaga were facing such intense scrutiny with the words “it’s the internalized misogyny for me” superimposed over her forehead.
Since Kardashian has collaborated with Balenciaga since 2021, some fans considered her nearly week-long silence on the controversial ad to be tacit approval. On Sunday, Nov. 27, the Kardashians star posted a statement on her Instagram Stories and Twitter, explaining that the delay in her official comment was, “not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened.” As for the future of her relationship with Balenciaga, the SKIMS founder explained that it is currently subject to change based on the brand’s future actions “to protect children.”
On Sunday, Nov. 27, former Real Housewives of New York star and Skinny Girl founder Bethenny Frankel weighed in on the controversy via an Instagram Reel. In the video, Frankel theorized that celebrities associated with Balenciaga have stayed silent due to contracts, both formally written and unspoken, that exist between powerful brands and A-listers.
Frankel went onto express disbelief regarding Balenciaga’s claims that they were not aware of the sexualization of children or the Supreme Court documents featured in the campaigns. “I did a big photoshoot for Interview Magazine recently and there was such detail and every member of that crew from the photographer to the creative director to the wardrobe person were so intently and intensely involved that I find it very difficult to believe the story of this shoot was not made abundantly clear,” she shared.
Bella Hadid modeled for the Spring 2023 Balenciaga campaign. And according to The Daily Mail, on Tuesday, Nov. 22, the supermodel apparently shared two photos of the campaign on her Instagram feed, only to delete them and limit all comments on her Instagram page the following day. Earlier in November, Hadid shared photos of herself in the Balenciaga x Adidas campaign, which remain on her Instagram feed.
On Saturday, Nov. 26, Kanye West spoke to paparazzi about the Balenciaga scandal on his way out of church. “It shows you all celebrities are controlled. You don’t see no celebrities talking about the Balenciaga situation,” West said.
Cooper Kupp, the NFL’s most recent Super Bowl MVP and a receiver for the Los Angeles Rams, took to Twitter on Saturday, Nov. 26, to call out Balenciaga for its campaign and to urge other platformed individuals to do the same. “Please make yourself aware of the attack against our young ones by @balenciaga, and ensure that they are held responsible for it!” Kupp wrote.
Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice hasn’t made any public statements about the Balenciaga ad, but fans still think she’s made her stance known. On Saturday, Nov. 26, the reality star’s husband, Louie Ruelas, posted photos of the pair on a Parisian getaway. In the pics, Guidice was wearing a Balenciaga sweater, which many interpreted as a sign of support for the brand. In the words of one Instagram user, “Balenciaga??????? Shame on you, Teresa.”
On Wednesday, Nov. 23, Vanderpump Rules cast member Lala Kent took to Instagram Stories to share a strongly worded condemnation of the Balenciaga ad along with a call to action. “We need to do better,” Kent’s statement read. “Reject the darkness, find the light. The well-being of our world and its innocent beings depends on it.”
Elite Daily will continue to update this story.
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