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Supermodel Kate Upton shared an image of herself wearing Balenciaga apparel, sparking backlash due to the company's controversial ad campaign from 2022 that was accused of sexualizing children.
The three-time Sports Illustrated cover model posted an Instagram photo of herself wearing a maroon Balenciaga sweatshirt that simply stated "Authentic Jersey Apparel."
The shirt has retailed for around $675 at Saks Fifth Avenue, OutKick reported.
The caption read “Heard we’re going no-pants this season?”
However, after a litany of disapproving comments from her followers, Upton has since removed the photo. Examples of comments on the Instagram post included, "Nope wrong company to get behind. Children exploitation! No thanks," and "As a mother, how could you support this brand?? Sick."
Balenciaga's 2022 ad campaign faced worldwide backlash after it shared ads featuring little girls wearing bondage-themed attire who were holding teddy bears outfitted with other fetish items. Some of the items included a padlock chain, a mesh shirt, and spiked bracelets. One of the ads also posed a young girl behind a table littered with empty champagne, beer, and wine glasses.
One part of the ad contained an excerpt from the United States Supreme Court opinion on United States v. Williams, a 2008 case regarding the distribution of child pornography.
"This is a new low for society and a not-so-new high for Satan," PragerU's Xaviaer DuRousseau wrote at the time.
I\u2019ve never been one to \u201ccancel\u201d but fashion brand Balenciaga needs to be shut down.\n\nThey used a CHILD in a BDSM themed photoshoot and have court documents discussing child p*rnography \u201cvisibly hidden\u201d in the photos.\n\nThis is a new low for society and a not-so-new high for Satan.— (@)
The 41-year-old designer behind the ads, Demna Gvasalia, issued a statement saying he made the "wrong artistic choice."
"I want to personally apologize for the wrong artistic choice of concept for the gifting campaign with the kids and I take my responsibility," he wrote on Instagram. "It was inappropriate to have kids promote objects that had nothing to do with them."
However, Demna then claimed that the idea for his extremely provocative ads was to "provoke a thought."
"As much as I would sometimes like to provoke a thought through my work, I would NEVER have an intention to do that with such an awful subject as child abuse that I condemn. Period."
"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," Demna added.
Lastly, he apologized to "anyone offended by the visuals."
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