The renowned brand faced backlash after its recent campaign, which promoted the Spring/Summer 2023 collection, featured two young children posing with teddy bears dressed in BDSM-style harnesses.
What’s more, people later spotted court documents mentioning “child porn” in the background of the pictures, too. As a result, tons of outraged users accused Balenciaga of sexualizing children, calling the shoot a "cancelable offense."
Balenciaga issued two short statements apologizing for the photo shoot and the court documents the following day, before later sharing a longer note about its condemnation of child abuse. The company wrote, “We strongly condemn child abuse; it was never our intent to include it in our narrative. The two separate ad campaigns in question reflect a series of grievous errors for which Balenciaga takes responsibility.”
Kim, who is one of the biggest faces of Balenciaga, remained silent for a week before addressing the scandal with a written statement shared on social media, in which she revealed she’d conversed with the brand’s team herself before publicly speaking out.
“I have been quiet for the past few days, 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,” Kim wrote.
“As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images. The safety of children must be held with the highest regard and any attempts to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society — period,” she said.
Kim then revealed she was appreciative of Balenciaga’s apology and is now “reevaluating” her relationship with the brand. Many were left disappointed by this response, given that she did not commit to cutting ties with the company.
“I appreciate Balenciaga’s removal of the campaigns and apology. In speaking with them, I believe they understand the seriousness of the issue and will take the necessary measures for this to never happen again,” she wrote.
“As for my future with Balenciaga, I am currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand, basing it off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with — & the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children,” she concluded.
Kim was blasted and mocked across social media for her response as several Twitter users questioned why she'd chosen not to immediately end her relationship with the brand.
And so, when Kim’s sister Kylie chose to upload some rare photos of her son just as all this was blowing up online, some people couldn’t help but question the timing of it.
Kylie gave birth to the little boy back in February, though has yet to reveal his name nor share pictures of his face — which is far different from how she flaunted her first daughter, Stormi, all over social media from the minute she was born.
On Monday, however, she randomly posted a series of photos of the little boy in a new Instagram carousel.
Several users quickly speculated that Kylie had calculatedly chosen to share the pictures — all of which still hid his face — in a bid to distract social media users from the Balenciaga scandal and Kim’s divisive statement.
A viral TikTok video, posted by user @psychadvice, broke down the Balenciaga controversy and its link to Kim.
In response, one user commented, “I guess we finally gonna find out the name of Kylies son,” to which the TikToker quipped: “Kris Jenner telling her kids to release the good photos after the Balenciaga Scandal.”
The TikToker then displayed a flurry of the Kardashian/Jenners’ recent photos, including the ones of Kylie and her son, and Kim’s surprising hangout with Khloé’s ex, Tristan Thompson — all of which fans have deemed suspiciously timed in light of the controversy.
And as the video gained heaps of traction online, more and more users found themselves convinced that Kylie had purposefully posted the photos of the little boy to take some of the attention off Kim.
But before long, Kylie entered the conversation herself to hit back at the claims, insisting that the pictures were not a cover-up.
Commenting directly onto the TikTok video, Kylie wrote: “uh whyyyyyy would i post my child to cover up for balenciaga ? this is why i don't do this. always something to say.”
Some fans sided with Kylie as they suggested that the mogul ”doesn’t owe anyone anything.”
“So now Kylie Jenner is being held accountable for Balenciaga and not Balenciaga? Weird,” one tweet read.
However, others argued that Kylie and her sisters choosing to remain silent on such huge scandals concerning their family members is what’s infuriating, given that they have “the power and influence” to inspire change.
“Lol it’s not holding them accountable for things they didn’t do. It’s the lack of outrage/voice when they have a platform,” one person said.
“The Kardashians have the power and influence to help create change,” another echoed.