If you thought the long Thanksgiving weekend would flush the “Balenciaga BDSM children” scandal from culture, you were wrong. Kim Kardashian, who has worked closely with and defined her own public style in part by the brand, has at last broken her silence on Balenciaga’s recently deleted campaign featuring kids posing with plush bears wearing leather harnesses, as well as a separate campaign featuring court documents from a case regarding child sexual abuse material.
In a four-tweet thread, Kardashian said that her delayed response was a result of wanting to “speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened,” not because she wasn’t “disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns.” She described herself as “shaken by the disturbing images.”
That said, Kardashian also said that she appreciates the label’s jettisoning of the campaigns and its apologies. She claims she is “currently re-evaluating my relationship with the brand,” based on their willingness to accept accountability and “the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children.”
It seems clear that the ad’s creators went for provocative by tastelessly suggesting child abuse only to have it blow up in the brand’s face, and in that sense the ensuing controversy is not at all surprising. (Note that per the New York Post, Balenciaga has filed a $25 million lawsuit against production company North Six, Inc. and set designer Nicholas Des Jardins, who were responsible for the campaign with the court documents. The Post reports that the two-page summons does not mention the campaign featuring the bears.)
Oh boy. Helena Bonham Carter has things to say about cancel culture. Namely: “I hate cancel culture.” She said this during an interview with London’s The Times (which is behind a titanium paywall, so here’s The Hollywood Reporter’s write-up of it). She gave her two cents on her frequent co-star Johnny Depp’s status following his Amber Heard trial (“completely vindicated”) and whether the $15 million judgement against Heard suggests the MeToo pendulum is swinging back: “My view is that she got on that pendulum. That’s the problem with these things — that people will jump on the bandwagon because it’s the trend and to be the poster girl for it.”
Also! Bonham Carter expressed support for J.K. Rowling, who is in some circles as well known for her anti-trans ravings as she is for writing Harry Potter:
It’s horrendous, a load of bollocks. I think she has been hounded. It’s been taken to the extreme, the judgmentalism of people. She’s allowed her opinion, particularly if she’s suffered abuse. Everybody carries their own history of trauma and forms their opinions from that trauma and you have to respect where people come from and their pain. You don’t all have to agree on everything — that would be insane and boring. She’s not meaning it aggressively, she’s just saying something out of her own experience.
Transphobia: It’s not aggressive, it’s just something out of Rowling’s own experience. You want proof that we as a culture care far too much about celebrities’ opinions? Exhibit A!
I can’t tell if Jennifer Lopez is using a deepfake here to animate the cover for her 20-year-old album This Is Me... Then to promote her upcoming album, This Is Me... Now, or if she’s just that steadfast in her non-aging, but either way, I can’t stop watching.
The album, out next year, will feature a followup to her ode to Ben Affleck in This Is Me... Then, “Dear Ben,” called “Dear Ben pt. 2.” A true full-circle moment.
- Incredible headline: “Jessie James Decker Defends Her Kids’ Abs After Criticism.” [E! Online]
- “Fame” and “Flashdance... What a Feeling” singer Irene Cara died last week at age 63, and the outpouring of affection and reminiscence has been heartening. I hope she felt this appreciated while she was alive. [The Hollywood Reporter]
- Kim Petras on working with Dr. Luke, whom Kesha accused of rape, in a now-deleted tweet: “I have nothing to say or be ashamed of at all. go away.” [TMZ]
- It was a soft Thanksgiving weekend at the box office, with Black Panther: Wakanda Forever coming out on top and Disney’s Strange World tanking. [Deadline]
- Greta Gerwig thought her upcoming Barbie movie might be a career-ender. You are not alone! [EW]