Kanye West and Kim Kardashian speak out on “disturbing” Balenciaga controversy

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Kanye West and Kim Kardashian have spoken out on the recent controversy surrounding a Balenciaga campaign that featured “sexualised” images of children.

Last week, numerous cultural figures condemned the luxury fashion house after it pulled a Christmas campaign that featured children holding the brand’s ‘plush bear bags’, which wore S&M-style harnesses, while another commercial displayed Supreme Court documents related to child pornography cases (via Cosmopolitan).

Balenciaga has since shelved the campaign and issued two apologies.

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West, who worked with the French brand before it cut ties with the rapper last month over antisemitic comments, has now spoken about the controversy.

“They tried to destroy my businesses at the same time, and the world saw it, and no one is saying anything,” he told paparazzi as he left a Messianic church on Saturday (November 26).

“It shows you all celebrities are controlled. You don’t see no celebrities talking about the Balenciaga situation.”

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The rapper’s ex wife, meanwhile, has also spoken out about the scandal.

“I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened,” Kardashian posted to Twitter.

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“As a mother of four, I have been shaken by the disturbing images. The safety of children must be held with the highest regard and any attempts to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society — period,” she continued.

“I appreciate Balenciaga’s removal of the campaigns and apology. In speaking with them, I believe they understand the seriousness of the issue and will take the necessary measures for this to never happen again.”

She added that for her “future with Balenciaga”, she is “currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand, basing it off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with — and the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children”.

Balenciaga’s initial response on social media read: “We sincerely apologise for any offence our holiday campaign may have caused,” adding: “Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign.

“We have immediately removed the campaign from all platforms.”

Later, the brand issued a second apology – this time referring to the child pornography papers seen in the second ad. “We apologise for displaying unsettling documents in our campaign,” that message read.

“We take this matter very seriously and are taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items for our Spring 23 campaign photoshoot.”

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