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We reported that Balenciaga has filed a $25 million lawsuit against production company North Six and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins in November, well, that suit has now been retracted.
President and CEO Cedric Charbit released a statement Friday on social media saying "Balenciaga has decided not to pursue legal action" and announcing that they're taking the following action in "order to learn from our mistakes as an organization" which includes going on a "listening tour" and donating money to charities that work on protecting children.
The statement is a clear 180 turn from their previous tactic which consisted mainly of blaming everyone else, from the photographer to the stylist. The photographer spoke out immediately, making it clear that he had nothing to do with the selection of props, which is when Balenciaga decided to try and sue the production company and stylist.
This did nothing to slow down the story burning through the internet, which had people hunting for signs of demons in the ads as it birthed a devil worship conspiracy theory, as well as convinced thousands of people that it was a subliminal pedophilia campaign.
As celebrities like Kim Kardashian re-evaluated their relationship with the brand, other celebrities and influencers literally burned their Balenciaga gear on camera as they swore off the brand. Now even Royalty are speaking out, as Princess Madeleine of Sweden made this post on Instagram. While promoting the Childhood foundation, which Madeleine works with but was founded by Queen Silvia of Sweden in 1999 to safeguard the right of children to a safe and loving childhood.
Celebrities like Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Lauren Burnham burn their Balenciaga, as did rapper/entrepreneur Omi In A Hellcat in protest over the ads, in a trend that seems to have spread further than the initial campaign has now. The apology from CEO Cedric Charbit may be too little, too late at this point. Everyone who works in the creative industry smelled bullshit when they initially tried to blame the photographer and were collectively insulted once Balenciaga actually filed a lawsuit. To work with Balenciaga could easily be career suicide now that the brand has been tarnished, and to work for a brand that would sue you for doing the work they asked for wouldn't be worth the trouble no matter how fat the paycheck. Many creatives called for boycotting to work for them, not just to boycott buying the hyped brand.
Meanwhile, the demonic pedophile conspiracy theories are not going away, with people connecting the dots everywhere to make up outlandish theories. Sometimes you don't need a conspiracy theory to see that an ad concept is just in really poor taste and you don't need to buy those overpriced sneakers.