French fashion house Balenciaga is hiring a new Vice President of Communication for crisis management as the brand scrambles to salvage its reputation following their campaign that showed children holding bondage teddy bears.
Opening the New York-based position on Tuesday, the embattled brand stressed the need for the VP to “provide support in the development and execution of external and internal crisis communications strategies and responses.”
Balenciaga received extreme backlash in November when they launched their inappropriate holiday campaigns featuring toddlers and later released a spring 2023 collection set in an office, including papers containing text from a 2008 Supreme Court ruling involving child pornography.
The brand apologized for the campaigns and later tried to right their mistake by partnering with a children’s charity.
Now, Balenciaga appears to be taking their crisis response one step further, hiring assistance for the estimated salary of $150,000 to $200,000.
Balenciaga is hiring a VP of Communications due to the campaign backlash. Last year, the company’s gift campaign showed young child models posing with BDSM-style bears on a set that was staged to look like a party
Opening the New York-based position on Tuesday, the embattled brand stressed the need for the VP to “provide support in the development and execution of external and internal crisis communications strategy and responses.”
In December, Balenciaga’s creative director and chief executive officer both apologized for the now-infamous ad campaign.
The campaign likely impacted the label’s fourth-quarter sales, with one analyst calling it a “PR blowout.” The annual earnings report will be out in February 2021. In 2021, Balenciaga achieved approximately $1.8 billion in sales.
At the time, Balenciaga released a statement apologizing for both photo shoots as several celebrities approved of their choices, including Kim Kardashian.
The statement read: “We sincerely apologize for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused. Our plush bear bags should not have been placed with children in this campaign. We have immediately removed the campaign from all platforms.
We apologize for displaying disturbing documents in our campaign. We take this matter very seriously and are taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including non-approved items for our Spring 23 campaign photo shoot. We strongly condemn abuse of children in any form. We stand for the safety and well-being of children.”
Separately, the Kering-owned label has released a statement signed by Charbit outlining new internal processes, including naming an “image board” to evaluate content.
To prevent future crises,” the new VP will help make brand image decisions and media relations.
The job description also looks for candidates who can help with PR strategies across the region, nurture and develop relationships with key editors, work on product launch communications plans, and manage communications across platforms.
Balenciaga apologizes for what many believe is a photoshoot that amounts to child pornography, featuring a child holding a teddy bear dressed in a BDSM outfit
French actress Isabelle Huppert poses for a book by artist Michael Borremans, whose work includes images of naked, castrated toddlers
Photos excerpted from the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in the United States v. Williams case, which upheld part of a federal child pornography law, were in another shoot
Outrage: There is continued anger over Balenciaga’s campaigns. Actress Anna Lynne McCord leads a protest outside the Rodeo Drive store in December
Balenciaga previously had two images of young children cuddling with the plush handbags on their website that now appear to have been wiped out.
The first photo in the online store shows a young red-haired child standing on a soft pink bed, holding a white teddy bag by the leather strap.
Not only does the bear have spiked leather bracelets on the bear’s arms and legs, he’s also dressed in a mesh crop top with a chain and a padlock around his neck.
The gift shop section of the website features another image of a child standing on a couch and holding a purple furry toy bag.
To right their wrongs, the label and parent company Kering Foundation announced in February that they have entered into a three-year partnership with the National Children’s Alliance, based in Washington DC.
According to a statement, Balenciaga will work with the NCA to help children heal from the trauma caused by abuse, to promote public awareness of child abuse and child protection. The NCA will inform Balenciaga of the actions adults can take to further protect children.
“We were confronted with the reality and magnitude of childhood trauma during our listening tour, engaging with several leading organizations and experts in the field of childhood trauma,” the company said in a statement.
THE BALENCIAGA SCANDAL: BONDAGE BEARS, CHILD PORN DOC’S AND AN ARTIST KNOWN FOR PICTURES OF NAKED CHILDREN
The Bondage Bears Christmas campaign
The scandal erupted when Balenciaga released its 2022 Christmas advertising campaign, which featured children posing with their cuddly sacks. The bags look like teddy bears and are dressed in BDSM clothing.
In the photo shoot, the children also appeared surrounded by empty wine and champagne glasses.
The distinctly adult themes immediately concerned many who questioned why children had ever been used.
Balenciaga initially ignored the scandal, seemingly allowing the photographer involved, Gabriele Galimberti, to take the heat.
He released a statement saying he had no control over the content of the shoot and eventually Balenciaga released his own statement agreeing with him and taking responsibility for the campaign.
It has now been taken off the internet.
The hidden child pornography documents
After the BDSM bear fiasco, eagle-eyed critics began scrutinizing the rest of Balenciaga’s campaigns.
They soon discovered that in the background of an image from the Spring ’23 campaign was a print of a Supreme Court ruling on whether child pornography on the Internet can legally be considered freedom of expression.
In response to the bear scandal, many critics said it pointed to a disturbing pattern within Balenciaga.
Balenciaga was quick to blame North Six, a production company that helped arrange the filming, for including those documents.
They claimed that they entrusted all the props from the photo shoot to North Six and that their team was confident that everything inside was fake.
The disturbing book by an artist whose work depicts naked, castrated toddlers
Balenciaga has yet to answer for including a book by Michael Borremans in the background of two of the images from the Spring ’23 campaign.
Borremans is a Belgian painter whose work includes a disturbing 2017 series called Fire From The Sun.
It shows naked toddlers – some neutered – playing in a group and sometimes alone.
Lawyers for the brand have yet to answer DailyMail.com’s questions about how the book ended up on the photo shoot.
In this image from Balenciaga’s scrapped Spring ’23 campaign, Isabelle Huppert sits in front of a stack of books, including one honoring Michael Borremans, a Belgian painter whose work is known for depicting castrated toddlers
Other work by Borremans includes his 2017 series Fire From The Sun, in which castrated toddlers and babies hold things that resemble severed limbs as they play naked together in a large group.