OPINION: Celebrities that support Balenciaga don’t deserve their platforms

Celebrities failing to speak out against child exploitation leads many to believe they condone this behavior.

Illustration by Joslyn DeGuzman

Celebrities failing to speak out against child exploitation leads many to believe they condone this behavior.

The campaigns of a brand and those they partner with represent the values they stand for. You’ll see these huge brands everywhere: billboards, famous Instagram accounts, magazine covers and more. The fact that these campaigns are so wide scale and heavily tied with the core values of the company, make it that much more concerning and disheartening when a beloved, upscale brand releases a morally questionable campaign, and even worse when the celebrities behind it don’t express concern with their affiliates. 

The designer brand Balenciaga recently released a campaign called Balenciaga Gift Shop, but quickly after its release, the public was outraged at the disturbing campaign images. Children were pictured on beds and couches holding stuffed animals strapped with mesh and harnesses, with items such as wine glasses and flasks placed in front of them. In an additional campaign shortly following this one, Balenciaga released the 2023 Garde-Robe campaign which featured background images of papers regarding details on child pornography laws. In both of these recent campagins, underlying images of child exploitation and parallels to pedophilia surfaced and made many question the company’s intentions. 

Throughout this scandal, these highly disturbing images raise the question of whether or not affiliated celebrities will condone these disgusting actions of Balenciaga. Although and they obviously should not, many seem to be holding back.  

Kim Kardashian is one example of the few celebrities who spoke out against the brand and while she assured her followers that she did not overlook the campaign’s dark, subliminal messages, her post gave fans an unclear response as to what her future with Balenciaga will look like. However, while Kardashian only demonstrated the bare minimum in activism against Balenciaga, it was much more than most other Balenciaga-affiliated celebrities did. 

When celebrities have such huge platforms with millions  of followers and choose not to speak out against child pornogrpahy and exploitation, it sends a message to their supporters that they condone this behavior. Instead of advocating for the safety of children, many chose to remain silent, allowing catastrophes like this to continue. They also continue to profit from the company and expand their deals, putting money and fame above humanity. 

The general public should understand the magnitude of this silence and hold these celebrities accountable. The more we visit their Instagram profiles and TikTok videos, the more we add to their popularity. Celebrities that won’t stand up against inhumane actions against children do not deserve a brand deal and further, do not deserve a platform at all.