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Celebs protest controversial Balenciaga holiday campaign by throwing out and burning their clothes

Kim Kardashian previously said she was “re-evaluating” her relationship with the brand amid its controversial ad campaign.
/ Source: TODAY

The controversy surrounding Balenciaga doesn't appear to be slowing down.

Last month, the Spanish fashion label's recent ad campaign made headlines, forcing the company to issue an apology. The ads featured young children posing with teddy bears that appeared to be wearing BDSM-inspired accessories. The campaign was criticized as inappropriate and offensive for its use of underage children.

Additionally, a different Balenciaga ad appeared to include a page from the 2008 Supreme Court case that upheld criminal penalties for promoting child pornography.

Celebrities and influencers displeased with the controversy began to throw out and burn their Balenciaga goods in protest.

Country singer Jason Aldean’s wife, Brittany Aldean, was among those who have said they're tossing out their Balenciaga items. On Nov. 30, she posted a photo of herself holding two clear trash bags with various Balenciaga products. 

“It’s trash day @balenciaga,” Aldean captioned the photo.

Her husband supported her by posting clapping hands emojis and writing, “show em how to ‘walk the walk’ babe!”

She also received support from a number of celebrities including gold medalist gymnast Shawn Johnson East wrote, “Yes mama.”

Kim Zolciak-Biermann left two raising hands emojis, country singer Brian Kelley’s wife, Brittney Marie Kelley, wrote, “same,” while Shay Mooney’s wife, Hannah Love Mooney, also posted clapping hands emojis.

Additionally, former Bachelor Arie Luyendyk Jr. and wife Lauren Burnham also shared a video on Instagram of them setting their Balenciaga sneakers on fire.

The video included the words “Bye Balenciaga,” while Luyendyk Jr. commented “won’t miss ya” on the post.

Balenciaga cleared their social media, with only their apology up on their Instagram page.

The brand addressed the controversies stating that they “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,” the statement continued in part, before going on to state that their gift collection “should have not been featured with children.

“This was a wrong choice by Balenciaga, combined with our failure in assessing and validating images. The responsibility for this lies with Balenciaga alone.”

As for their other Spring 2023 campaign, the statement noted that all items for the office-themed shoot “were provided by third parties that confirmed in writing that these props were fake office documents.” 

“They turned out to be real legal papers most likely coming from the filming of a television drama. The inclusion of these unapproved documents was the result of reckless negligence for which Balenciaga has filed a complaint,” the statement read. “We take full accountability for our lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background, and we could have done things differently.”’ 

The company noted that an internal and external investigation was taking place.

Kim Kardashian, who is a frequent Balenciaga collaborator and almost exclusively wears their fashions, released a statement on her social media condemning the campaign.

“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 wrote on Nov. 27, adding that she appreciates Balenciaga’s apology and removal of the ads and was “re-evaluating” her relationship with the brand.

Bethenny Frankel also posted a video about how the controversy has been “eye opening” and people “have the power” to decide what to purchase.

“I think about our kids, and they don’t know what the images mean,” she said in a video posted on Instagram on Dec. 1. “We have to find ways to protect our kids.”

Meanwhile, others continue to protest the brand on social media, including TikTok user vivalapinkposh who shared a video of her burnt pink Balenciaga sneakers.

Gianna Avalos, known as singlemomattorney, posted a video of her cutting up her $1,500 purse. Another user who goes by the name of kermitnotkaren wrote that she did not accept the brand's apology and went on to rip her hoodie.

“I don’t play when it comes to the safety of children,” wrote user kamilliont alongside video of her burning her Balenciaga sneakers.

There are others like nail artist thenailaddict, who while she posted a video of her throwing away her Balenciaga products, she noted she would be donating them.

The #CancelBalenciaga hashtag on TikTok has a slew of other videos of people destroying or throwing away their products. However, some people in the comments are skeptical about people tossing their products, especially given their price tag.

“I don’t believe any celebrities are throwing these away putting them in the bin like that,” one user wrote on user Malin Anderson’s video. “Maybe cut the logos out and then bin and we might believe.”

Another user, roulaobeid, wrote on her video, "Cut them open! Dont just throw it in trash for the video and then pick it up."

The saga would continue as creative director Demna Gvasalia issued an apology on Dec. 2, taking responsibility for the “inappropriate” concept for the “Balenciaga Gift Shop” campaign.

Cédric Charbit, the president and CEO of Balenciaga, also stated that the company is taking “actions with the objective to learn” from their mistakes.