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Balenciaga drops lawsuit against production company North Six and lets Demna keep his job

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Balenciaga has dropped its $25million lawsuit against a Brooklyn production company that it claimed was responsible for part of the child imagery scandal it is now drowning in after being widely panned by celebrities. 

The fashion house announced on Friday that it was no longer seeking action against North Six, the production company that it said was responsible for child porn legal documents ending up in its July photoshoot. 

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The decision came after widespread backlash from the fashion industry and celebrities including Yolanda Hadid and Martha Hunt, who said it was trying to shift the blame onto a third party production company to avoid embarrassment. 

‘Balenciaga has decided not to pursue litigation,’ the brand said on Friday in an Instagram post where it said it would create an image oversight board.  

The fashion house has however stopped short of firing Demna, the creative director responsible for a different, controversial photoshoot involving children. 

The fashion house announced on Friday that it was no longer seeking action against North Six, the production company that it said was responsible for child porn legal documents ending up in its July photoshoot.
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The fashion house announced on Friday that it was no longer seeking action against North Six, the production company that it said was responsible for child porn legal documents ending up in its July photoshoot.

Balenciaga's creative director Demna is being allowed to continue on in the role despite growing outrage over its use of children in a bondage-styled shoot

Balenciaga’s creative director Demna is being allowed to continue on in the role despite growing outrage over its use of children in a bondage-styled shoot

But on Friday, nearly two weeks after the scandal broke, he released a statement that suggested he was going nowhere

But on Friday, nearly two weeks after the scandal broke, he released a statement that suggested he was going nowhere

He issued a statement on Friday promising to ‘do better’ and  vowing to work with children’s protection organizations.  

‘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.

‘I apologize to anyone offended by the visuals and Balenciaga has guaranteed that adequate measures will be taken not only to avoid similar mistakes in the future but also to take accountability in protecting child welfare in every way we can,’ he said. 

At the start of the statement on Friday, he said: ‘I want to personally apologize for the wrong artistic choice of concept for the gifting campaign with the kids and I take my responsibility. 

‘It was inappropriate to have kids promote objects that had nothing to do with them.

Fashion insiders have expressed their disgust with Balenciaga for trying to blame part of the scandal on North Six, a production company that was involved in the photoshoot

Fashion insiders have expressed their disgust with Balenciaga for trying to blame part of the scandal on North Six, a production company that was involved in the photoshoot

Fashion insiders have expressed their disgust with Balenciaga for trying to blame part of the scandal on North Six, a production company that was involved in the photoshoot 

Among those who shared their support for the production company being sued by Balenciaga was Yolanda Hadid, despite the fact her daughter Bella is one of Balenciaga's top models

Among those who shared their support for the production company being sued by Balenciaga was Yolanda Hadid, despite the fact her daughter Bella is one of Balenciaga’s top models

‘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.’ 

Before the scandal, Demna was the darling of the fashion industry and was credited for boosting the profits of Balenciaga’s parent group, Kering, by $1billion.  

He boasted about his unbridled ability to ‘create’, describing in a recent podcast how he no longer felt the need to ‘make the fashion industry understand’. 

”I no longer think about making the fashion industry understand what I do,’ he says, ‘I just do it.’’ ‘Popularity is always very dangerous… you can do anything and it can sell and that’s the dangerous part,’ he said. 

There is mounting anger against Balenciaga’s response to the scandal, which has included a threat to sue production company North Six and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins. 

Balenciaga claims they are responsible for placing documents about child porn law in the background of a July photoshoot, and that they are being blamed for it unfairly. 

Among critics of the brand’s PR response is Yolanda Hadid – whose daughter Bella was one of the stars of that campaign, and who is yet to address the controversy. 

Yolanda enthusiastically supported an Instagram post which slammed Balenciaga’s response. 

Demna with Kim Kardashian at the 2021 Met Gala. The 41-year-olld Georgian native has been credited with boosting Balenciaga's profits by partnering with stars like Kardashian

Demna and Kim in Paris in March 2022. She has gushed over the designer on The Kardashians and in interviews, and has become his star ambassador

Demna with Kim Kardashian at the 2021 Met Gala. The 41-year-olld Georgian native has been credited with boosting Balenciaga’s profits by partnering with stars like Kardashians

Demna with Bella Hadid, another of Balenciaga's star models and ambassadors

Demna with Bella Hadid, another of Balenciaga’s star models and ambassadors 

The post read: ‘As a long-time and experienced member of the fashion and creative industry, I am compelled to state my support of North Six in its ongoing involvement with Balenciaga.

‘It is troubling to see a fashion house knowingly deflect blame on the hired production company to avoid responsibility for its own creative decisions.

‘Clients are on the set and, are responsible for all approvals throughout and, most importantly, have final say before all images are released to the public.

‘Production does not create the vision but works to serve clients and bring to life their vision, not contribute their own – a practice that brands have long followed.

‘I stand with my community to ensure that blaming production companies for the fallout and problems associated with vision and image does not become the norm and hope that Balenciaga will see to it that North Six’s name is properly cleared.’ 

She commented beneath it: ‘Yes 100%’. 

Bella is yet to condemn Balenciaga and has not confirmed whether or not she plans to continue working with the brand.  

There are planned protests in multiple cities this weekend with stars including Anna Lynne McCord vowing to boycott the brand. 

There is also growing outrage over the fact that Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and other department stores continue to sell Balenciaga products. 

Demna lives in Paris with his husband and has not been seen since the scandal erupted two weeks ago. 

It began with the BDSM bears shoot, which was made public in mid-November. 

The campaign showcased children posing amid empty wine and champagne glasses, holding the bear bags that were styled with BDSM harnesses. Some of the bears had their eyes poked out. 

It was not to advertise a line of kidswear or accessories. 

Almost immediately, there was uproar among mothers and consumers who called out the impropriety of the children being involved.

Incensed by the campaign, critics of the brand then seized on a second photoshoot, completed in July, in which a printout of a SCOTUS hearing on child porn law was hidden in the background.

Vandalism on an empty store on Rodeo Drive last night in a clear protest against the brand, whose own store is nearby

Vandalism on an empty store on Rodeo Drive last night in a clear protest against the brand, whose own store is nearby 

Meanwhile on social media, disenchanted consumers are burning their Balenciaga goods in protest

Meanwhile on social media, disenchanted consumers are burning their Balenciaga goods in protest

Meanwhile on social media, disenchanted consumers are burning their Balenciaga goods in protest 

Critics said the two issues combined pointed to a pattern at the brand – an allegation it strongly denies. 

Then, a closer look at that July photoshoot revealed a book in the background by artist Michael Borremans, whose other works include depictions of naked, castrated toddlers.

Balenciaga has insisted that it had nothing to do with placing Borremans’ book in the background of the shoot, and that it was not involved in the placement of the child porn documents either. 

Instead, it says production company North Six and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins is to blame for those props making their way into the photoshoot. 

But a source with knowledge of the photoshoot in Manhattan told DailyMail.com that no one from North Six was even present when the documents were placed in the frame behind a handbag. 

‘Balenciaga wanted to keep it a closed set. North six staffers were not there for the final staging of those document photos,’ they said. 

The only people present in the end were ‘two Balenciaga staffers, the photographer and a set assistant’. 

It’s not uncommon for brands to limit the number of unessential staff allowed to be present at shoots involving high profile models. 

In this case, Bella Hadid was the star of the campaign Balenciaga x Adidas campaign, and Nicole Kidman was also photographed for the ready-to-wear collection. 

THE BALENCIAGA SCANDAL: BONDAGE BEARS, CHILD PORN DOCS AND AN ARTIST KNOWN FOR DEPICTING NAKED KIDS

The Bondage Bears Christmas campaign 

The scandal erupted when Balenciaga released its 2022 Holiday ad campaign that featured children posing with its Plush Toy Bag. The bags look like teddy bears and are dressed in BDSM gear. 

In the photo shoot, the kids also appeared surrounded by empty wine and champagne glasses. 

1669819273 572 Fashion industry aims Balenciaga scorn at creative director Demna

The distinctly adult themes immediately troubled many who asked why children had ever been used. 

Balenciaga ignored the scandal at first and seemingly allowed the photographer who was involved, Gabriele Galimberti, to take the heat. 

He released a statement saying he had no control over the content of the shoot and eventually, Balenciaga released its own statement agreeing with him and taking responsibility for the campaign. 

It has now been pulled from the internet. 

The hidden child porn documents 

After the BDSM bears fiasco, eagle-eyed critics started examining the rest of Balenciaga’s campaigns closely. 

They soon discovered that in the background of an image from the Spring ’23 campaign was a printout of a Supreme Court ruling on whether or not internet child porn can be legally considered free speech. 

On the back of the bears scandal, many critics said it pointed to a troubling pattern within Balenciaga. 

Balenciaga was quick to blame North Six, a production company that helped arrange the shoot, for the inclusion of those documents. 

They claimed that they entrusted all of the props from the photoshoot to North Six, and that their team was assured everything that was included was fake. 

The troubling book of artist whose work depicts naked, castrated toddlers 

Balenciaga is yet to answer for the inclusion of a book by Michael Borremans in the background of two of the images from the Spring ’23 campaign. 

Borremans is a Belgian painter whose work includes a troubling 2017 series called Fire From The Sun. 

It depicts naked toddlers – some of them castrated – playing in a group and at times alone. 

Lawyers for the brand are yet to address DailyMail.com’s questions about how the book ended up on the photoshoot.  

In this image from Balenciaga's scrapped Spring '23 campaign, Isabelle Huppert sits in front of a stack of books including one that celebrates Michael Borremans, a Belgian painter whose work is known to include depictions of castrated toddlers

In this image from Balenciaga’s scrapped Spring ’23 campaign, Isabelle Huppert sits in front of a stack of books including one that celebrates Michael Borremans, a Belgian painter whose work is known to include depictions of castrated toddlers

Borremans' other work includes his 2017 series Fire From The Sun, which features castrated toddlers and babies holding what look like severed limbs, while playing together nude in a large group

Borremans’ other work includes his 2017 series Fire From The Sun, which features castrated toddlers and babies holding what look like severed limbs, while playing together nude in a large group

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