Internet criticizes Balenciaga CEO Cedric Charbit’s statement as brand drops $25 million lawsuit

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”:

@TMZ It doesn’t matter that your brand is already 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

Netizens continue to call Balenciaga as the brand drops the lawsuit (Image via Getty Images)
Netizens continue to call Balenciaga as the brand drops the lawsuit (Image via Getty Images)

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:

Balenciaga is still doing damage control. They’re not going to pursue that stupid lawsuit they filed a few days ago.

@TMZ Drop the lawsuit because it will prove they signed it.

@TMZ I have a feeling it was all for the press and our attention.

@TMZ Because they can’t sue themselves.

@TMZ They had no case. It was approved by them. They should just sue themselves.

@jamesfromcourt They know their case is weak as agency and marketing teams work so closely together on campaigns. Not to mention their legal team quits before it goes to the Agency.

@jamesfromcourt Basically, “we hired an attorney, who advised us to drop our strategically flawed case by blaming others when it’s clear we have the final say on whatever content we produce and publish….. meaning we’ve approved the role models of children for our campaign of slavery’.

Balenciaga is not pursuing the lawsuit because they know they are wrong…a court filing that would further decimate their reputation

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.

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