Bella Hadid reportedly deletes Balenciaga post from Instagram amid calls to speak out against brand

Bella Hadid appears to have deleted an Instagram post from her recent Balenciaga photoshoot after the brand sparked backlash with recent ad campaigns, which featured children holding teddy bears dressed in bondage gear and an image of a Supreme Court opinion on a child pornography case.

The supermodel, 26, who frequently works with the luxury fashion house, posted photos from Balenciaga’s Garde-Robe Spring 2023 campaign shot by Joshua Bright on Instagram on Tuesday, according to the DailyMail.

In the photos, which have also circulated on Twitter, Hadid could be seen dressed in blouses and long skirts as she posed in a high-rise office building. In some of the photos, the model wore a platinum blonde wig, while others showed her sitting in an office chair while modelling black hair.

However, Hadid appears to have deleted the photos from her Instagram amid criticism directed at Balenciaga over two of its recent campaigns.

One campaign, shot by photographer Gabriele Galimberti, featured child models posing with teddy bear handbags from the brand’s Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2023 collection. However, as noted by critics, the plush toys appeared to be wearing bondage and BDSM gear, such as studded leather harnesses, and collars with locks.

Amid the backlash over the campaign featuring children, the brand also faced criticism over a recent Balenciaga Adidas shoot also photographed by Bright, after individuals identified what appeared to be a Supreme Court opinion in a child pornography case used as a prop to promote a handbag.

The court papers displayed appear to be from the 2008 Supreme Court case, United States v Williams, which criminalised the pandering of child pornography. The ruling reaffirmed the constitutionality of the PROTECT Act, a federal law that increased penalties for sexual exploitation and other abuse of children.

Hadid found herself embroiled in the controversy after posting photos from her recent shoot with the brand, which also stars Nicole Kidman, Isabelle Huppert, and Han So Hee.

“Bella Hadid deleted her Balenciaga post because people were eating her up,” one person claimed on Twitter, while another said: “Bella Hadid deleted her Balenciaga campaign on IG after enormous pushback. Turning tables. Our outrage matters.

“If the innocence of children isn’t worth fighting for, nothing is.”

However, Hadid still has multiple images from Balenciaga campaigns displayed on her Instagram, including photos from the recent Balenciaga Adidas collaboration.

In the comments under the posts, fans are divided, with some praising Hadid for removing the most recent photos, while others have urged her to speak out publicly against the brand.

“Thank you for deleting that other post,” one person commented under the model’s most recent Instagram post, while another said: “I’m so glad you deleted that other post lmaoo.”

The majority of comments related to the model’s relationship with Balenciaga have been critical, however, as one person urged her to “address Balenciaga”.

In the comments under a post from the Balenciaga Adidas collaboration, in which Hadid models a red tracksuit, fans also questioned her “silence”.

“I no longer support you. Your silence speaks volumes,” one comment reads, while another says: “You should delete these…. if you’re against what they did.”

Someone else urged Hadid to “address the unethical aspects of this campaign”. “It’s a disgrace and you shouldn’t be associated with that muck,” they added.

Balenciaga apologised for the campaigns, which have since been removed from the brand’s website and social media, in two separate statements shared to the brand’s Instagram on Tuesday. In the first, the fashion house wrote: “We sincerely apologise for any offense our holiday campaign may have caused. Our plush bear bags should not have been featured with children in this campaign. We have immediately removed the campaign from all platforms.”

In a statement addressing the campaign featuring court documents, Balenciaga said it was “taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items for our Spring ‘23 campaign photoshoot”.

“We apologise for displaying unsettling documents in our campaign,” the company said. “We take this matter very seriously and are taking legal action against the parties responsible for creating the set and including unapproved items for our Spring ‘23 campaign photoshoot.”

Galimberti has also addressed his involvement in the campaign starring child models, with the photographer alleging that, although he photographed the ad, he was “not entitled” to choose the products or models featured in the campaign, “nor the combination of the same”.

The photographer also took the opportunity to clarify that he has “no connection” with the Balenciaga photos in which a “Supreme Court document appears”.

As of now, Bright has not addressed the backlash over the Balenciaga campaigns.

The Independent has contacted Balenciaga, Adidas, a representative for Hadid, Bright, and Galimberti for comment.