They announced Friday that they were no longer seeking legal action against production company North Six and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins.
The decision follows widespread backlash from the fashion industry and celebrities including Yolanda Hadid and Martha Hunt, who accused them of trying to shift the blame onto a third-party production company to avoid embarrassment.
The images in question were shot in July for their now-scrapped Spring 2023 campaign. One photo shows an office desk with papers and files strewn across it. On closer inspection, one of those papers is from a Supreme Court ruling on child pornography, half covered and accompanied by a luxury handbag.
Another image shows French actress Isabelle Huppert sitting at an office desk in front of a stack of books. One of these books celebrates Michael Borremans, a Belgian painter whose work is known to include depictions of castrated toddlers.
Balenciaga is however allowing creative director Denma, the man responsible for a separate controversial photoshoot involving children, to stay on in his role.
The fashion house found itself at the center of a social media storm over the controversial ad campaign featuring photographs of children holding teddy bears wearing bondage gear that triggered a wave of angry backlash.
"I want to personally apologize for the wrong artistic choice of concept for the gifting campaign with the kids and I take my responsibility," Demna said in a statement released Friday. "It was inappropriate to have kids promote objects that had nothing to do with them."
He has vowed to do better and to learn from his mistakes.
"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," he says.
He ends his statement by saying, "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."
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