Luxury fashion brand Balenciaga is facing backlash over a now-removed advertising campaign that is being accused of promoting child abuse.
The ads included photos of two children holding plush bear toys fitted with bondage gear, including harnesses, cuffs, and fishnets.
A separate Balenciaga ad has also been criticised for making references to a U.S. Supreme Court case that dealt with child sexual abuse and pornography.
In a statement, Balenciaga said the controversies in the ad campaigns “reflect a series of grievous errors for which Balenciaga takes responsibility”.
They said that featuring children in the ads was the “wrong choice” and was Balenciaga’s fault alone.
However, they said the court papers used in the other image were meant to be “fake office documents” provided to Balenciaga by a third party, and the inclusion of the “unapproved” documents was the result of “reckless negligence”.
They are now suing the production company responsible for the props for $AU37 million.
Balenciaga has had commercial partnerships with many high-profile celebrities, including Nicole Kidman, Dua Lipa, and Bella Hadid.
Kim Kardashian, who has also worked with Balenciaga, said on Twitter she was “re-evaluating” her relationship with the brand following the recent campaign.
“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 normalise child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society.”