How a Balenciaga ad sparked an outrageous conspiracy theory

Balenciaga may have left Twitter, but that hasn’t stopped site users from analyzing the luxury brand’s every move.

On Nov. 21, June Nicole Lapine, better known as @shoe0nhead, took to Elon Musk’s Twitter to imply that the luxury fashion brand is conspiring to exploit children, a baseless claim made even more absurd by the YouTuber’s reasoning. .

It begins by highlighting a few photos from Balenciaga’s holiday gift campaign, which featured child models clutching the brand’s sling teddy bear bags, accessories that debuted at Fashion Week’s Spring/Summer 2023 runway presentation of Paris by Balenciaga.

While some have objected to Balenciaga’s decision to put BDSM-inspired bags into the hands of young kids, the isolated campaign isn’t exactly indicative of a larger conspiracy.

However, Lapine builds his case by mistakenly linking the images to photos from a completely separate environment – ​​again, entirely separate — campaign promoting Balenciaga’s collaboration with adidas.

Said photographs show the collaboration’s Three Stripes bag atop a very official-looking stack of documents.

Zooming in, one of those documents turns out to be a commentary by USA vs. Williamsa Supreme Court ruling that upheld the PROTECT Act, a federal law that criminalizes the advertising, promotion, presentation or distribution of child sexual abuse material.

A bizarre choice in dressing the set? Absolutely. The definitive proof that, as Lapine suggests, Balenciaga is hinting at something illegal? Hardly.

He goes on to cite Balenciaga’s deleted Instagram feed as further indication of the brand’s alleged culpability. Of course, anyone who follows the company knows that it periodically clears its feed and fills the blank slate with its last drop.

Just before Lapine’s conspiratorial tweets went viral, Balenciaga’s official Instagram was filled with new images from its Spring 2023 Garde-Robe collection, which launched for pre-order on the morning of November 21st.

Some particularly zealous conspiracy theorists have begun commenting on Balenciaga’s latest posts with references to Lapine’s claims, which have since garnered tens of thousands of likes and re-tweets.

On Nov. 22, Balenciaga turned off comments on his Instagram page and posted a story apologizing for the drama surrounding his holiday gift campaign.

“Our plush bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign,” the statement read. “We immediately removed the campaign from all platforms.”

Two hours later, Balenciaga released a follow-up story addressing those court documents poking out from under the adidas bag, a quick response that may have been prompted by the Kanye controversy that just slipped the month before.

“We are pursuing legal action against the parties responsible for setting up and including unapproved items for our Spring 23 campaign photoshoot,” she clarified. “We are for the safety and well-being of children.”

Balenciaga did not immediately respond to Highsnobiety’s request for further comment.

While it’s tempting to accept Lapine’s salacious storyline, it presents no evidence that, as it suggests, Balenciaga is actually linked to some kind of Epstein-style child abuse ring.

Also misinformed: his claim that the photo contains a copy of USA vs. Williams it’s part of the same campaign with Balenciaga’s teddy bears (which, by the way, are dressed more like 80s punks than genuine leather fetishists).

Of course, it’s just doing what the internet does best: creating mountains of moles in the name of clicks.

Hey, we all do, but at least Lapine could get the facts straight.

Or not! The story may be completely baseless, but it is sounds offensive, which was enough to get him a mention on Tucker Carlson’s famous fact-free primetime show. As a result, conservatives on Twitter are piling up falsehoods. Just like Elon intended!

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