Balenciaga has dropped its $25 million lawsuit it filed against production company North Six Inc. and production designer Nicholas Des Jardins earlier this week over his work on the brand’s controversial children’s ad campaign.
The luxury fashion brand said the company, along with Jardins, showed legal documents from its 2008 “United States v. Williams” ruling over child pornography without the brand’s knowledge.
In an official statement, the brand said that all items included in the shooting process were supplied by third parties, who confirmed in writing that the props were “false official documents”. However, it was later revealed to be “real legal documents most likely from the filming of a television drama.
However, Balenciaga CEO Cedric Charbit released a new statement on Friday, saying the brand has decided “not to pursue litigation” but has initiated a series of actions in response to the situation with the aim of learning from its mistakes.
The statement explained that the company will appoint an internal “image board” effective immediately, which will be responsible for evaluating the nature of its content, from “concepts to final assets, including legal, sustainability and diversity expertise.”
The company said it has also appointed an external “best-in-class agency” to evaluate and rate its content. The brand has further reorganized its image department to ensure “full alignment with corporate guidelines”.
Meanwhile, the fashion house has also decided to organize a separate fund to give donations to organizations that can “help make a difference in the protection of children”.
CEO Cedric Charbit also added a personal note to the end of the statement and said:
“I want to personally reiterate my sincere apologies for the offense caused and take my responsibility.”
He also stated that Balenciaga is united for the “safety of children” and would not tolerate “any kind of violence and hate messages”.
However, the statement failed to convince social media users who said the new promises “don’t matter” as the brand has already been “tarnished”:
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 handbags while wearing dresses or posing around props that appear to suggest themes of slavery and bdsm.
He was also criticized for a second ad for his spring 2023 campaign that consisted of images showing printouts of documents from the 2008 Supreme Court ruling on child pornography.
Twitter reacts to Balenciaga CEO Cedric Charbit’s decision to drop the lawsuit
Balenciaga and its officials have continued to face constant criticism for their controversial child announcement campaign in recent weeks.
Amid the ongoing outrage, the brand also withdrew its $25 million lawsuit against the production company and production designer who worked on the campaign, deciding to take responsibility and initiate a series of actions in response to the situation.
As brand CEO Cedric Charbit announced the decision in a statement, several social media users took to Twitter to condemn the company once again amid continued boycott calls:
As criticism continues to pour online, Balenciaga said it wants to “learn, help and contribute” to the protection of children. The brand it has also decided to initiate “responsible communication training courses” among its teams.
The CEO also said his team will participate in a “listening tour” to interact and engage with child protection advocacy groups.