Balenciaga tries to walk back ads promoting child exploitation by suing ad creator

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Luxury fashion brand Balenciaga is doing damage control after finding itself at the center of a social media storm over a controversial ad campaign featuring photographs of children holding teddy bears wearing bondage gear that triggered a wave of angry backlash. 

The company has since announced the intention to sue the ad creator after further scrutiny revealed that disturbing court documents from a case which made virtual and fake child sex abuse images legal in the US were used as a prop in a separate ad.

The story began late last week when a woman shared screenshots on Twitter of the disturbing photographs of young children holding teddy bears dressed in bondage gear. The images were taken from the Balenciaga website, but have since been deleted.

According to Reduxx, the photograph depicting a child standing on a pink bed holding a teddy bear wearing wrist and ankle restraints, a fishnet top, and a leather collar was taken from the main page of the Balenciaga US site.

The other image, of a child standing on a sofa holding a teddy bear wearing a leather harness, was taken from the gift shop catalog. In the full image of each, a second teddy bear wearing bondage gear can be seen in the shots.

These images were part of an ad campaign launched on Instagram starting Nov 16, and Reduxx reports that of the six images released, only one did not feature BDSM gear. These bondage teddy bears are part of the Spanish comnpany’s spring 2023 collection.

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