Balenciaga allows creative director Demna to keep his job despite child imagery scandal

Balenciaga creative director Demna KEEPS his job despite being responsible for twisted child imagery campaign as he apologizes and vows to ‘do better’

  • Demna, 41, has boosted the brand’s profits enormously since he joined in 2015 
  • He built lucrative partnerships with stars like Kim Kardashian and Bella Hadid
  • Demna released his first personal statement on the scandal on Friday 
  • He apologized for the use of children in a campaign ad with bondage teddy bears and said it was the ‘wrong artistic choice of concept’ 
  • The brand insists it had nothing to do with legal documents describing child porn laws ending up in a second photoshoot  

Balenciaga‘s creative director Demna is being allowed to continue on in the role despite growing outrage over its use of children in a bondage-styled shoot. 

The Georgian native, 41, has been widely blamed and criticized for the scandals, with growing calls for him to either resign or be fired. 

But on Friday, nearly two weeks after the scandal broke, he released a statement in which he apologized for the ‘wrong artistic choice’ of using children in the ad campaign, but made it clear he was going nowhere. 

‘I need to learn from this, listen and engage with child protection organizations to know how I can contribute and help on this terrible subject.

‘I apologize to anyone offended by the visuals and Balenciaga has guaranteed that adequate measures will be taken not only to avoid similar mistakes in the future but also to take accountability in protecting child welfare in every way we can,’ he said. 

Balenciaga's creative director Demna is being allowed to continue on in the role despite growing outrage over its use of children in a bondage-styled shoot

Balenciaga’s creative director Demna is being allowed to continue on in the role despite growing outrage over its use of children in a bondage-styled shoot

But on Friday, nearly two weeks after the scandal broke, he released a statement that suggested he was going nowhere

But on Friday, nearly two weeks after the scandal broke, he released a statement that suggested he was going nowhere

At the start of the statement, he said: ‘I want to personally apologize for the wrong artistic choice of concept for the gifting campaign with the kids and I take my responsibility. 

‘It was inappropriate to have kids promote objects that had nothing to do with them.

As much as I would sometimes like to provoke a thought through my work, I would NEVER have an intention to do that with such an awful subject as child abuse that I condemn. Period.’ 

It comes amid growing outrage over the brand’s decision to use children in the holiday ad campaign to showcase its plush bear bags, and over its inclusion of legal documents describing child porn laws in the background of a different photoshoot. 

There are planned protests in multiple cities this weekend with stars including Anna Lynne McCord vowing to boycott the brand. 

There is also growing outrage over the fact that Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and other department stores continue to sell Balenciaga products. 

Demna lives in Paris with his husband and has not been seen since the scandal erupted two weeks ago. 

It began with the BDSM bears shoot, which was made public in mid-November. 

The campaign showcased children posing amid empty wine and champagne glasses, holding the bear bags that were styled with BDSM harnesses. Some of the bears had their eyes poked out. 

It was not to advertise a line of kidswear or accessories. 

Almost immediately, there was uproar among mothers and consumers who called out the impropriety of the children being involved.

Incensed by the campaign, critics of the brand then seized on a second photoshoot, completed in July, in which a printout of a SCOTUS hearing on child porn law was hidden in the background. 

Critics said the two issues combined pointed to a pattern at the brand – an allegation it strongly denies. 

Then, a closer look at that July photoshoot revealed a book in the background by artist Michael Borremans, whose other works include depictions of naked, castrated toddlers.

Balenciaga has insisted that it had nothing to do with placing Borremans’ book in the background of the shoot, and that it was not involved in the placement of the child porn documents either. 

Instead, it says production company North Six and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins is to blame for those props making their way into the photoshoot.   

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