As Balenciaga “child abuse” scandal grows as a TikTok user claims to have spotted five “demonic” hidden details in one of the luxury brand’s ads.
“Balenciaga on mad one,” music producer Marc Baigent captioned the video, which has already been viewed more than 2.3 million times.
“Five things spotted in one of the Balenciaga campaign photos,” the video says, as it zooms in on different set elements in the photo featuring a young boy.
On a shelf behind the boy’s left shoulder is “a child’s drawing of the devil”.
On the floor by his left foot is a “random black hood, perfectly placed and tied, resembling a Satanic cult”, with a candle on the opposite side.
“Even the trainers look like the devil staring you in the face,” the video says, highlighting the boy’s bright red shoes.
In front of the boy on the floor to his right, a roll of yellow Balenciaga tape shows two As, spelling “Baal”.
Baal was an ancient fertility god worshipped by many Middle Eastern communities, particularly the Canaanites, who were notorious for child sacrifice.
“Lastly, one of the dolls with a padlock around its neck. Coincidence?” the video says.
The video has attracted more than 3600 comments.
Balenciaga, the luxury fashion brand that sparked back-to-back controversies over two recent ad campaigns, has signaled its plans to sue the production company North Six for its role in creating one of the ads.
The backlash began when online scrutinizers noticed a page from the 2008 Supreme Court decision United States v. Williams in the backdrop for an ad showcasing a $3,000 purse.
The ruling upheld the constitutionality of a child pornography conviction.
The ad, which has since been removed from the company's website, was part of the fashion house's Spring 2023 collaboration with the activewear brand Adidas.
Balenciaga watchers might not have noticed the Supreme Court decision excerpt had it not been for a controversy earlier this month with another ad – one from the brand's holiday collection.
That ad campaign also drew backlash because it featured images of children holding plush bears wearing fishnet tops and leather harnesses, surrounded by objects like flasks and chain necklaces.
The new photos were met with accusations that the fashion house was condoning the sexual abuse of children. Social media users and media commentators described it as "creepy," "demonic" and "horrifying."
Galimberti wrote in a statement that he had no oversight over the products or models used for the Balenciaga shoot.
"As is usual for a commercial shooting, the direction of the campaign and the choice of the objects displayed are not in the hands of the photographer," he said.
He added that the hate messages sent to him "are addressed against wrong targets, and distract from the real problem, and criminals."
Balenciaga apologized for both ads in two different statements last week and then again on Monday, saying first "our plush bear bags and the Gift Collection should not have been featured with children," and that all the items used as props in the second ad shoot 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," the company said, adding that it was internally investigating the incident and exploring ways to work with organizations that combat child abuse.
"We want to learn from our mistakes and identify ways we can contribute. Balenciaga reiterates its sincere apologies."
On Friday, the brand issued a lawsuit summons to the production company, North Six, and set designer, Nicholas Des Jardins, for their role in creating the second ad.
Frequent collaborator Kim Kardashian also broke her silence this week, saying she was “disgusted and outraged” but leaving the door open to working with the brand in future.
The iconic Australian Nicole Kidman actress, 55, stars in the luxury fashion brand’s Spring 2023 campaign which was unveiled last week, just as the scandal broke.
Kidman, has yet to make a statement or delete her pictures, most recently reposted on Instagram a week ago.
The comment section has filled up with disappointed remarks. “Are you going to speak out against their disgusting ads???” a follower wrote on her post, a comment that has now amassed over 500 likes. “Silence is deafening. So disappointed,” another person added.
Fellow Balenciaga partner Bella Hadid, who like Kidman appeared in their most recent fashion campaign, also took a stand by deleting some pictures from her shoot on Instagram.