The ad, which has been the subject of much criticism in the last week, featured children holding teddy bears dressed in bondage gear and an image of a Supreme Court opinion on a child pornography case.
On 28 November, the Uncut Gems actor shared her thoughts on the Balenciaga scandal in a TikTok video after fans asked her to weigh in on the photoshoot.
“First things first, I’m not their spokesperson, I have zero relationship with the brand, I haven’t even been to one of their shows – they haven’t invited me,” she began the video. “Regardless, I think it’s horrific and when I was reading and watching all the videos I literally felt sick to my stomach. But I couldn’t help but think, damn, the women who are associated to the brand professionally are getting so much pushback, it’s almost as if they’re the f***ing child molesters.”
Fox went on to add that “no child was actually harmed” in the Balenciaga photoshoot, but likened the Balenciaga scandal to child abuse cases within religious institutions, adding that she doesn’t see “hashtag cancel the church anywhere”.
The 32-year-old model wrote over the TikTok video: “Why are women being blamed for a MANS [sic] mistake? It’s the internalised misogyny for me.”
“Anyway, those are my thoughts,” she concluded the video.
Despite not mentioning Kim Kardashian by name, many fans in the comments said they believed Julia Fox was referencing Kim because the reality TV star has starred in multiple Balenciaga campaigns and often worn the brand to red carpet events. Notably, Fox dated Kardashian’s ex-husband, Kanye West, earlier this year and has since said that she dated Ye to “distract him” from his ongoing divorce from the SKIMS founder.
“Thank you I’m seeing Kim get more backlash then man who created the whole campaign,” wrote one commenter on Fox’s video.
“Also so many men are associated with Balenciaga yet got no backlash and it’s not as if Kim has anything to do with that shoot,” another wrote.
“The way Kim is getting backlash and she’s probably just an ambassador for the brand it’s not like she said yes to the shoot being done I don’t get it,” a third person added.
Replying to @marajnation respectfully I’ve never cashed a balenci check so pls keep me tf out it thanks!
♬ original sound - Julia fox
Some TikTokers disagreed, claiming that famous women who are associated with Balenciaga should also be held accountable, writing: “Honestly though it is important that people be held responsible for the brands they align themselves with. We all have to push back to cause change.”
Later on 28 November, Kim Kardashian did issue a statement indicating that she’d be “re-evaluating” her relationship with the brand in a statement posted to social media.
“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,” she said. “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.”
The Kardashians star said she’s 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 – and the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children”.
“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,” she added.
Balenciaga has been under fire over two recent ad campaigns involving children. One of the ads for the brand’s holiday gift collection featured children posing with teddy bear purses, which critics pointed out appear to be wearing BDSM and bondage-inspired accessories.
The second ad under scrutiny is Balenciaga’s Spring 2023 campaign, for its use of a printout of a Supreme Court decision on child pornography.
After issuing an apology last week, Balenciaga posted a new statement to social media on Monday “strongly condemning” child abuse and addressing the fallout over its controversial ad campaigns involving children. In the statement, the luxury brand said its bondage teddy bears “should not have been featured with children,” writing, “This was a wrong choice by Balenciaga, combined with our failure in assessing and validating images. The responsibility for this lies with Balenciaga alone.”
As for the second campaign, which used excerpts from 2008 Supreme Court case United States v Williams – which criminalised the pandering of child pornography – as props, Balenciaga said “all the items included in this shooting were provided by third parties that confirmed in writing that these props were fake office documents”.
“They turned out to be real legal papers most likely coming from the filming of a television drama,” Balenciaga continued. “The inclusion of these unapproved documents was the result of reckless negligence for which Balenciaga has filed a complaint.”
The brand has also filed a $25m lawsuit against production company North Six Inc and its agent, Nicholas Des Jardins, for engaging in “inexplicable acts and omissions” that were “malevolent or, at the very least, extraordinarily reckless”.
Although Balenciaga is suing the production company over the campaign, the brand noted in the statement that it takes “full accountability for our lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background”.
Balenciaga will also undergo internal and external investigations into the campaigns in order to ensure that similar issues do not occur in the future. According to Balenciaga, these actions include “closely revising our organisation and collective ways of working” and “reinforcing the structures around our creative processes and validation steps”.
Going forward, the company said it will be working with organisations that “specialise in child protection” and aim to end “child abuse and exploitation”.
“We want to learn from our mistakes and identify ways we can contribute,” the luxury brand concluded. “Balenciaga reiterates its sincere apologies for the offense we have caused and extends its apologies to talents and partners.”