Balenciaga, the Spanish-French fashion house, has come under fire for recent ads that some have called “endorsement of child pornography”. The ads in question (with Balenciaga’s apologies captioned):
Child advertising controversy
In November 2022, an advertising campaign posted on Balenciaga’s Instagram account featured children holding teddy bears dressed in bondage and BDSM gear. Balenciaga later apologized after heavy criticism and removed all posts connected to the photo campaign. Hours later, Balenciaga apologized for a separate, earlier advertisement, which displays the text from a Supreme Court opinion in the Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition child pornography case. Balenciaga announced it is taking legal action against the production company North Six and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins, responsible for the advertisement with the child pornography court document, for $25 million.
Another advertisement from Balenciaga shows a photograph of a red-hair model holding a small top-handle bag. In the background is the book Fire from the Sun by the Belgian painter Michaël Borremans, which contains paintings of toddlers with insinuations of threat. In the wake of the Balenciaga controversy, some Twitter users said they thought paintings from this book were disturbing.
An image from Borremans’ Fire From the Sun, accused of depicting toddler castration:
Kim Kardashian, who’s supported Balenciaga in the past, is dropping them like a sack of bricks. Also no surprise that the likes of Tucker Carlson over on Fox News have latched onto this to push their own conspiracy theories about how pedophiles are literally everywhere, infiltrating all sectors of society to groom kids and such.
Anyways, just thought I’d throw all this out there and see what people around here think of all this.
Tbh, I don’t see these images as CSAM. If I was shown these images with no context, I would’ve thought “oh, how cute”, then just move on. I didn’t even realize that the teddy bears were wearing bondage or BDSM gear until I read the article.
But, why did they put a text from a Supreme Court ruling in one of their ads? That seemed a bit weird to me.
As for the image from Fire From the Sun, I can understand that some people might be offended by it, but it’s just a drawing and no real children were harmed in making it.
Those images are innocuous. Either because despite showing real kids aren’t really porn, or because, in the case of that painting, shows nudity but is just an illustration.
Another day in United States of Moral Panic.
I…I don’t even understand this. Is this really all there is to this story?
The photograph of the child in the black shirt holding the BDSM gear is not sexual in any way. If anything, it looks like something a Presbyterian Church or something would commission to signify disgust with kink culture. That was literally my first instinct.
Some phoned in guilt-trip rhetoric like “How would you justify this to your child?” or something.
People are making a bigger deal about this than there should be. The child is fully clothed, they are not posed in a suggestive way, nor is there any indication that they are being sexualized.
It sounds like that decision was made by an external group they hired to make ads
About the two images with the toddlers… I don’t think the children in the photos were directly harmed by the experience. I also don’t see them as CSAM. But I do think they were in poor taste. They were promoting sexualization of children openly to the general public as a fashion statement.
Like that’s never happened before. . Anyone remember Brooke Shields’ early fashion ads?
Not just that, how about her movie rolls?
Shields’s first major film role was as a lead actress in Louis Malle’s Pretty Baby (1978), a movie in which she played a child named Violet who lived in a brothel (in which there were numerous nude scenes). She was only 12 years old when the film was released, and controversy regarding child pornography arose.
Stuff like “Cuties” and these Balenciaga ads are nothing new, nor are the concerns and controversies that come with.
Uk law says otherwise. It’s csam.
Are you referring to the advertisements or the painting?
If you’re referring to the advertisements, I agree that they were made in poor taste, but there’s nothing that indicates that the kids were harmed.
If you’re referring to the painting, there’s a difference between what UK law says and what it actually is. What is it? A painting. It’s not based on scientific evidence, but rather based on morals and disgust.
Of course we should protect kids, but at the same time, we shouldn’t criminalize artworks.
The art would violate Uk law, but not us law.
Okay, so what exactly was your point then?
Is it CSAM because UK law says so?
Do you think it would be CSAM even if it wasn’t outlawed by the UK?
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Britain doesn’t rule the world anymore (hasn’t since 1997). “This is CSAM under UK law” is NOT a compelling argument. I could easily spin it around on you and say “This is NOT CSAM under US law”. Appealing to the law is a fallacy, you can’t just point to what the UK says is and isn’t CSAM and let that be the end of your argument. Islamist countries think a woman showing her hair and ankles is “pornographic”. An Islamist could point to their own laws and say “See, the Western world is a buncha degenerates jus cuz my country says so!” You see the issue here?