In court documents submitted on Friday, the high-end clothing brand Balenciaga announced a $25 million lawsuit against the production company responsible for an advertisement containing pictures of kids being held in servitude while holding teddy bears.
The teddy bears aren’t mentioned in detail in a two-page summons with notice, but it makes clear allusions to the controversy by labeling the makers’ acts as “inexplicable,” “malevolent, or at the very least, exceedingly reckless.”
The paperwork was submitted on Friday to the County of New York’s New York State Supreme Court. The Court of Appeals is the state’s highest court; the Supreme Court serves as a trial court with extensive authority in a particular area in New York State. Because the file is new, neither the summons nor the notice—nor a related court docket—even list a case number.
Who are the Defendants Against Balenciaga?
North Six, Inc., a production company, and Nicholas Des Jardins, a set designer who operates under the name Nicholas Des Jardins LLC, are the defendants.
The 2008 United States Supreme Court judgment United States v. Williams appears to be next to a designer purse in one of the images from the in question ad campaign. Williams came to the conclusion that a federal ban on the so-called “pandering” of alleged child pornography, which is defined as advertising, promoting, exhibiting, distributing, or soliciting, was lawful. According to federal prosecutors, they want to use the law to stop online child pornography.
In response to considerable criticism, including claims that the teddy bears were “BDSM” type bears—an acronym for bondage, discipline, domination, and submission—Balenciaga withdrew the advertisements and issued an apology on Tuesday.
The summons with notice reads that “Balenciaga feels that Defendants’ incomprehensible behaviors and omissions were malevolent or, at the very least, exceedingly careless.” “Due to the dishonesty of the Defendants, the public, especially the mainstream media, has mistakenly and horribly linked Balenciaga with the disgusting and very unpleasant issue of the court ruling. All damages brought on by this erroneous association are the responsibility of the defendants to Balenciaga.
In an anonymous interview with the Daily Mail, the father of one of the kids defended the pictures, claiming they were taken “completely out of context.”
No parent would actively urge their child to participate in something that was pornographic, he claimed, and he believed that the notoriety surrounding what happened had been exaggerated.
Balenciaga has nonetheless taken public and legal steps to disassociate itself from the now-canceled advertisement campaign because it has garnered a great deal of unfavorable attention for the fashion house.
A few days prior to filing the lawsuit, the business apologized on Instagram for using disturbing materials in its marketing. We are pursuing legal action against the parties in charge of building the set and incorporating unauthorized goods for our Spring 23 campaign photoshoot since we take this issue very seriously.
The Instagram statement stated, “We firmly condemn abuse of minors in any way. “We support the safety and welfare of children.”