Father of Child Who Posed in BDSM-Themed Balenciaga Ad Defends Photoshoot: ‘The Children Had a Fantastic Time’

The father of a British child who was featured in a creepy BDSM-themed Balenciaga ad campaign is reportedly defending the photoshoot and insisting his daughter and other children “had a fantastic time” posing for the photos.

The father, who asked to remain anonymous, told Daily Mail that he was present during the photoshoot, which he referred to as “an enjoyable day out,” and claimed that the BDSM-themed photos have been taken “totally out of context.”

“No parent would actively encourage the child to take part in something which was pornographic, and I think the publicity surrounding what happened has been blown out of all proportion,” the man said.

Balenciaga’s recent ad campaign featured photos of children holding teddy bears clad in bondage outfits. One of the photos included a disturbing hidden detail — sheets of paper containing text from two U.S. Supreme Court cases: U.S. v. Williams, which criminalized child pornography, and Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, which made virtual child porn protected speech.

The luxury fashion brand, as well as photographer Gabriele Galimberti, faced a barrage of backlash online for “glamorizing” child abuse.

But the father of the child who posed in the photos said Galimberti is “innocent” of any wrongdoing and went on to disclose that the models were all children of Balenciaga employees.

“I feel desperately sorry for Gabriele, this had nothing directly to do with him and he was merely taking the photographs as requested by Balenciaga,” he said. “The parents of the children were at the shoot and they approved of what took place.”

“Gabriele is an accomplished photographer and no way does he deserve the abuse he has been getting, the parents all knew what they were doing and the children had a fantastic time on the shoot,” the father continued.

“His [sic] innocent and has been drawn into all this unfairly,” he added. “It was a really enjoyable day but it has now all been ruined because people have taken it all out of context and created an international media storm.”

“If I felt at any time that it was inappropriate, I would have stepped in and I’m sure the other parents would have done the same, but no one did,” the father insisted.

On Tuesday, Balenciaga issued an apology on Instagram — after briefly wiping its Instagram account entirely.

Galimberti has also taken to Instagram to address the matter, writing, “I must stress that I was not entitled in whatsoever manner to neither chose the products, nor the models, nor the combination of the same.”

“As a photographer, I was only and solely requested to lit [sic] the given scene, and take the shots according to my signature style,” he continued. “As 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.”

The photographer also said that he has “no connection with the photo where a Supreme Court document appears.”

“That one was taken in another set by other people and and [sic] was falsely associated with my photos,” Galimberti insisted.

Meanwhile, the public is demanding that Kim Kardashian, model Bella Hadid, and actress Nicole Kidman — who have all taken part in the company’s star-studded Paris runway show — condemn Balenciaga’s disturbing ads. The three women have remained completely silent throughout the controversy.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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