Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp slammed Balenciaga over the weekend over a recent scandal in which it was widely accused of sexualizing young children.
The brand, which celebrities like Kim Kardashian often wear, displayed images on its website last week as part of its “Toy Stories” ad campaign. The photos showed child models posing with the brand’s teddy bear handbags, with the bears dressed in BDSM-themed gear from its Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2023 collection.
“To try to be a voice for our children, who rely on the protection of the men and women that were entrusted the responsibility of nurturing them and raising them up: please make yourself aware of the attack against our young ones by @balenciaga, and ensure that they are held responsible for it!” he wrote. “For those of us in positions to create change in the way that companies manipulate people and advertise evil, please stand up!”
— Cooper Kupp (@CooperKupp) November 27, 2022
Balenciaga issued an apology following widespread backlash to its ad campaign.
“We sincerely apologize for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused,” the company posted in an Instagram story. “Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign. We have immediately removed the campaign from all platforms.”
Balenciaga debuted the handbag line last October at the runway show in Paris, where models walked the catwalk with bruised faces and bloody noses carrying the teddy bears.
Not all celebrities have taken such a hard stance against Balenciaga.
Kardashian, who posed in Balenciaga attire after the scandal erupted, said in a statement Sunday evening that she was open to continuing to work with the company depending on how they handled the controversy.
“I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened,” Kardashian said in a statement. “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 normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society — period.”
“I appreciate Balenciaga’s removal of the campaigns and apology. In speaking with them, I believe they understand the seriousness of the issue and will take the necessary measures for this to never happen again,” Kardashian continued. “As for my future with Balenciaga, I am currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand, basing it off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with — & the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children.”