Kim Kardashian says she is “re-evaluating my relationship” with Balenciaga, following online backlash from a recent campaign by the fashion house.
The reality star, 42, said she was “shaken by the disturbing images” used in the campaign, which showed two young children holding teddy bears dressed in bondage clothing.
The images, which emerged several days ago, have since been taken down by Balenciaga, with the company apologising for offence caused in its own Instagram story post.
The ads appeared to show two young girls, both holding the stuffed animals, which were dressed in leather and netted clothing, and surrounded by an assortment of other items.
One photo also showed what appeared to be an excerpt from “unsettling” US Supreme Court documents.
Kardashian said she had remained silent in the days since the campaign was first posted online because she wanted to speak with the brand to “understand for myself how this could have happened”.
“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,” she wrote online.
“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 continued: “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.
“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.”
Kardashian and her ex-partner Kanye West are known for their links to Balenciaga, and recently walked her first Paris couture show with the brand, describing it as “a dream come true”.
The controversy comes following reports that the fashion house has cut its ties with West amid the ongoing fallout from antisemitic remarks made online by the US rapper.
Balenciaga responded to the controversy in an Instagram post, writing: “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.”
The brand addressed both the gift collection and the Spring 2023 collection which have come under question and took accountability for responsibility in the campaigns as well as saying it has filed a complaint against the third parties which supplied the real legal document excerpts which they state they were told were props.
The statement added: “While internal and external investigations are ongoing, we are taking the following actions: We are closely revising our organisation and collective ways of working.
“We are reinforcing the structures around our creative processes and validation steps. We want to ensure that new controls marks a pivot and will prevent this from happening again.
“We are laying the groundwork with organisations who specialise in child protection and aims at ending child abuse and exploitation.”
It continued: “We want to learn from our mistakes and identify ways we can contribute.
“Balenciaga reiterates its sincere apologies for the offense we have cause and extends its apologies to talents and partners.”