Kim Kardashian is responding to the backlash she received following the recent Balenciaga controversy.
The “Kardashians” star opened up about the public scrutiny she faced following the release of the brand’s controversial holiday campaign in late November in an interview on the “Angie Martinez IRL” podcast.
Balenciaga was accused of sexualizing children in a holiday ad in which children held teddy bears dressed in bondage gear. Before the controversy, Kardashian had appeared in Balenciaga advertisements and consistently promoted the brand to her $337 million Instagram followers. She was then chastised for not speaking out and condemning the holiday campaign quickly enough.
Kardashian told Martinez, People reported:
“With the Balenciaga thing… everyone was like, ‘Why aren’t you speaking out? Why aren’t you speaking out?’ And I’m like, ‘Wait. I’m not in this campaign. I don’t know what’s happening. Let me take a minute to like research this.'”
“And then as soon as I saw what everyone was seeing on the internet and the reality of the situation, I completely spoke out and gave my thoughts.”
Kardashian issued a lengthy statement condemning the contentious Balenciaga campaign. However, it took her more than a week to break her silence on the controversy, and by then, many on social media had already chastised her for her ties to the luxury fashion house.
She explained on the podcast:
“But because I didn’t say, ‘F— you, Balenciaga. That’s it,’ people got mad at that. So they’re mad if I don’t speak out. They’re mad if I do speak out, and if I don’t cancel.”
Kardashian acknowledged that she was in a difficult situation and that no matter what she did, people would judge her. “No matter what,” the reality star claims, “you can’t win.”
“You don’t want to be a part of the narrative, but you’re brought in. But then I have to take responsibility and say, ‘Okay, people look at me as the face of this, so let me speak out.’ I just always want to do the right thing.”
Days after Balenciaga released the campaign on Nov. 16, Kardashian took to Instagram to say she was “disgusted and outraged” by the advertisements and that she had remained silent because she wanted to “understand for myself how this could have happened.”
Kardashian wrote on Instagram:
“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.”
“I am currently reevaluating my relationship with the brand, basing it off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should never have happened to begin with — and the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children.”
On November 24, Balenciaga removed the campaign from all platforms and issued a statement saying:
“We sincerely apologize for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused. Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign.”
In a subsequent statement, the luxury fashion house stated that it would implement “new controls” to prevent the “series of grievous errors” from occurring again.