Balenciaga sues production company for $25 million over controversial campaign – Boston News, Weather, Sports

(CNN) — Luxury fashion house Balenciaga is suing the production company behind its spring 2023 ad campaign after one of the images identified documents related to a Supreme Court ruling on child pornography.

The label that is already facing a conviction other campaign with children, filed the lawsuit Friday in the New York State Supreme Court. Balenciaga is seeking at least $25 million in damages from production company North Six, Inc., set designer Nicholas Des Jardins and his company

Balenciaga hired North Six and Des Jardins to develop and produce its spring 2023 campaign, the court’s subpoena said.

The campaign, which starred actress Nicole Kidman and model Bella Hadid, was said to recreate a corporate setting, with the shots being set in “Manhattan office spaces.”

However, on a messy desk seen in one picture, the mess visibly contained a page from the Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling in United States v. Williams, a case “regarding it as illegal and not protected by freedom of expression.” approved Promotion of child pornography‘” said a statement Balenciaga provided to CNN on Monday.

The court document alleges that Balenciaga, which is owned by French luxury conglomerate Kering, was unaware of that particular document and did not authorize its inclusion.

In his statement to CNN, Balenciaga said, “All items included in this shoot were provided by third parties who have confirmed in writing that these props were forged office documents. It turned out to be genuine legal paperwork, most likely from filming a television drama.”

Balenciaga said in the subpoena it believes the “unexplained acts and omissions of the defendants were malicious or at least extraordinarily reckless.”

The court filings allege that as a result of the defendants’ actions, “members of the public, including the news media, have wrongly and horribly associated Balenciaga with the repugnant and deeply troubling subject matter of the court decision.” North Six and Des Jardins, it said, should be held liable for “any damages resulting from this false association.”

Amelia K. Brankov, an attorney for Nicholas Des Jardins and his company, Nicholas Des Jardins LLC, said in an emailed statement to CNN that “there was certainly no malicious scheme. As Balenciaga knows, numerous boxes of documents were simply borrowed from a prop shop.”

“In addition, Balenciaga representatives were present at the shoot, supervising it and taking care of papers and props,” continues Brankov, “and Des Jardins, as set designer, was not responsible for image selection on the shoot.”

A North Six representative said the production company had “no creative input or control over the shoot. North Six wasn’t on set during the final set arrangements.”

bad judgement

As Balenciaga continues its own investigation into the matter, Balenciaga said it accepts responsibility for its lack of oversight and control over the campaign images.

“We are strengthening the structures around our creative processes and validation steps. We want to ensure new controls mark a tipping point and will prevent this from happening again,” it said in a statement. “Balenciaga reiterates its sincere apologies for the insult we have caused and apologizes to talent and partners.”

Balenciaga also addressed widespread outrage and condemnation of another recent campaign that saw children cuddled with teddy bears in fetish gear.

“We condemn in the strongest terms child abuse; It was never our intention to include it in our narrative,” the company said. “Our bear plush bags and gift collection should not have been shown with children. This was a wrong decision by Balenciaga combined with our failure to evaluate and validate images. The responsibility for this lies solely with Balenciaga.”

Kim Kardashian, fashion label ambassador, said the campaign Sunday after receiving a barrage of messages from fans and commenters urging her to denounce the brand.

Kardashian said she is “reevaluating” her working relationship with Balenciaga and, as a mother, was “shattered by the disturbing images.”

“Child safety must be held with the utmost respect and any attempts to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society — period,” she told her 74.2 million Twitter followers.

Balenciaga had apologized for the campaign last week, saying it “immediately removed the campaign from all platforms.”

Photographer Gabriele Galimberti tells CNN in a statement last week Directing and filming the campaign with the teddy bears was not in his hands.

“I’m not in a position to comment on Balenciaga’s choices, but I must emphasize that I was in no way authorized to choose neither the products, nor the models, nor the combination of the same … as usual, directing the campaign and the shoot is not in the hands of the photographer.”

Both North Six and a representative from Nicholas Des Jardins LLC said they were not involved in the stuffed bear campaign.

(Copyright (c) 2022 CNN. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.)

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Sarah Y. Kim

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