It’s been more than a week since Balenciaga unleashed ads that were said to sexualize toddler girls by posing them with teddy bear bags accessorized with bondage gear, and several of its celebrity “brand ambassadors,” including Nicole Kidman and Kim Kardashian, remain at the center of controversy.
Kidman, in particular, is being called out for staying silent on the issue, while continuing to promote the luxury house on her social media.
Nicole Kidman for Balenciaga🖤 pic.twitter.com/AZPVb4gBqZ
— Outlander Magazine (@StreetFashion01) November 21, 2022
So far, though, Kardashian has borne the brunt of the backlash from the Balenciaga campaign, with the ire against her continuing Monday, even after the reality TV star expressed “disgust” and “outrage” over the holiday campaign, which featured BDSM imagery and a reference to child porn. Kardashian on Sunday issued a statement, saying that, “as a mother of four,” she was “shaken by the disturbing images” and that any attempts “to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society — period.”
But as Kardashian said she was “reevaluating” her relationship with the brand, people online torched her for being insincere in her “outrage.” They said she should cut her lucrative deal with the fashion house entirely if she’s really concerned about the campaign normalizing child abuse. The luxury house is best known for designing the hooded outfit that Kardashian wore to the Met Gala.
Perhaps just as tone-deaf to the controversy is Kidman, who co-starred with Kardashian on the Paris runway at Balenciaga’s haute couture show in July. The Oscar winner has remained silent, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, and she’s taken no action and offered no response, unlike Kardashian or even Bella Hadid. The supermodel at least deleted an Instagram post last week, which showed her promoting fashion from the Balenciaga’s 2023 spring line, the Daily Mail reported. Hadid removed the post after the brand apologized for its holiday campaign that featuring the little girls.
Like Hadid, Kidman also touted her participation in the campaign for Balenciaga’s 2023 spring line last week, sharing photos of herself looking glamorous on Instagram.
Nicole Kidman para Balenciaga
Spring 2023 campaing. pic.twitter.com/pmLER9Bcu4
— Miguel Ángel (@Miki_Trent) November 21, 2022
But unlike Hadid, Kidman has kept the photos of herself in Balenciaga up on her Instagram. For Kidman’s apparent lack of concern, her Instagram feed was inundated with harsh comments — which she may not be used to getting because, unlike Kardashian, she’s usually not known as the most polarizing of celebrities.
“How can you stand proudly for this brand as a Mother?” one person said, referring to Kidman also being a mother of four, including two young daughters.
“I can’t believe you’ve turned a blind eye to a brand promoting child abuse,” another person said. “So shocked and disappointed.”
“Sexualizing toddlers is never okay,” said yet another.
As Kidman’s post remained up Monday, people continued to express their disappointment. “This post shows how clueless or unconcerned you are. Shame on you!”
“Why have you not removed this campaign?” someone else said. “Shame on you with 2 daughters.”
People on Twitter also had things to say.
Nicole Kidman posts her new Balenciaga ad on Instagram in response to their pedophilia campaign. Why aren’t celebrities speaking out? Because they are all controlled. Disgusting pic.twitter.com/EjzyfXY1xy
— Cinowe 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦 (@cinowe) November 28, 2022
Thank you for covering this. Balenciaga needs to be held accountable and Kim Kardashian, Nicole Kidman and Bella Hadid need to drop their ad campaigns with them! If they don’t they are supporting child porn and child trafficking! #whereisKim https://t.co/LqkU1nt9ac
— 💫 (@YH082308) November 23, 2022
Perhaps Kidman or her representatives don’t feel the need to be concerned about the Balenciaga controversy because the A-list actor was on the receiving end of glowing press over the weekend. She got a standing ovation after she showed up Saturday for a Broadway performance of “The Music Man,” and bid $100,000 for a hat signed by its star Hugh Jackman.
Kidman made the bid during an auction for the charity Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids after Saturday’s performance, The Guardian reported. She made her presence known by shouting her bid of $100,000 for the hat, which led to gasps and cheers in the crowd, then a standing ovation.
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) November 27, 2022
By keeping her Balenciaga campaign photos up, it appears that Kidman also is reluctant to cut ties with the fashion house. But thus far, she’s been spared much of the anger directed at Kardashian.
Among those calling Kardashian out for coming across as insincere in her outrage was conservative commentator Candace Owens, who happens to be friends with Kardashian’s ex-husband, Kanye West.
“It only took 6 days for @kimkardashian to not actually condemn Balenciaga for child pornography because although she was disgusted and outraged — money is money and sometimes you gotta let child pornography fly for free clothes and money. Or something,” Owens wrote in a quote tweet.
“I don’t believe that you’re being sincere at all,” someone else tweeted. “I think you were just hoping that it would blow over. There’s no way that they paid for an ad campaign, didn’t look it over thoroughly before they put it out there. Seems like it’s more about money for you.”
Many seem convinced Kardashian was only moved to denounce Balenciaga after receiving a flood of comments after the controversy erupted, and she still posted a photo of herself modeling a shirt from the brand’s collaboration with Adidas, People reported.
The images were part of Balenciaga’s Gift Shop campaign, “promoting items appropriate for taking the prime position beneath the Christmas trees of the top 1 per cent, such as $1,200 spiked dog bowls and $400 rolls of adhesive tape featuring the brand’s logo,” the Sydney Morning Herald said. The controversy erupted when YouTuber June Nicole Lapine posted to her Twitter account: “The brand ‘Balenciaga’ just did a uh….. interesting… photoshoot for their new products recently which included a very purposely poorly hidden court document about ‘virtual child porn.’”
the brand “Balenciaga” just did a uh….. interesting… photoshoot for their new products recently which included a very purposely poorly hidden court document about ‘virtual child porn’
normal stuff pic.twitter.com/zjMN5WhZ0s
— shoe (@shoe0nhead) November 21, 2022
The documents refer to a Supreme Court ruling that upheld a law that criminalizes child pornography, Insider reported. In its apology, Balenciaga said: “We sincerely apologize for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused. Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign.” It added that it removed the the images from all its social media platforms and strongly condemns the “abuse of children in any form.”