“Even with the Balenciaga thing, it was like, everyone was like, ‘Why aren’t you speaking out? Why aren’t you speaking out?’” the Kardashians star said. “And I’m like, wait, I’m not in this campaign. I don’t know what’s happening. Let me like take a minute to 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 on child porn and completely denounced it.”
However, according to Kardashian, many are still not pleased with her. “Because I didn’t say, ‘Fuck you, Balenciaga,’ that’s it, people got mad at that. So, it’s like they’re mad if I don’t speak out, they’re mad if I do speak out and if I don’t cancel [the brand].”
The business mogul and media personality, who serves as a brand ambassador for the luxury fashion house, initially criticized Balenciaga's campaigns, saying in part, “I am currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand, basing it off their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with — & the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children.”
Martinez was told by the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star that “you definitely can’t win” in these types of situations “unless they heard what they wanted to hear.”
“You know, when you just don’t want to be a part of the narrative, but you’re brought in,” Kardashian added. “But then I have to take responsibility and say OK, people look at me as the face of this so let me speak out. I just always want to do the right thing and you always have to just do what feels right.”
Following the backlash, Balenciaga pulled the ads for its Spring 2023 collaboration with Adidas from the internet in November and issued a statement saying the Kering-owned French fashion brand “strongly condemns child abuse” and did not intend to “include it in our narrative.” Demna, the brand's creative director, personally apologized for the images on Instagram a few days after the campaign was criticized.
The fashion house also initially filed a $25 million lawsuit against set designer Nicholas Des Jardi and North Six, the production company in charge of the campaign. However, Balenciaga's president and CEO Cedric Charbit later stated that the company would no longer pursue legal action.