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Astana, Kazakhstan • 02 December, 2022 | 15:20

Photographer's Exhibition in Kazakhstan Canceled Amid Balenciaga Scandal

Gabriele Galimberti bears the brunt of the public backlash against the fashion brand’s latest ad campaign

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Gabriele Galimberti, the Italian photographer behind the controversial photos for Balenciaga, said that his upcoming exhibition in Kazakhstan has been canceled, QazMonitor reports.

The latest ad campaign by Balenciaga caused heated public controversy. On November 16, the brand published photos promoting its latest collection of teddy-bear bags. The photos used Galimberti’s Toy Stories - a series of photos portraying children from different countries - as reference.

Photo from Gabriele Galimberti's Toy Stories photo series
Photo from Gabriele Galimberti's Toy Stories photo series

The photoshoot showed children holding the bags decorated with elements of bondage, which caused a huge public outcry on social media. What fanned the flames even further was the release of the brand’s next campaign Garde Robe, featuring legal papers concerning child abuse that many people found disturbing and inappropriate. The scandal reached its peak as people falsely accused Galimberti for his involvement in both campaigns, though he had nothing to do with the Garde Robe campaign.

In an interview with la Repubblica, Galimberti admitted receiving thousands of death threats on social media. The damage has already affected the photographer’s future exhibition in Kazakhstan.

“...I have an exhibition scheduled on December 7th in Kazakhstan in a commercial gallery: there should have been 8 photos from Toy Stories as well, but they advised me that they prefer not to exhibit them. We'll see later, but I expect other reactions, unfortunately. Regardless of the truth."

Balenciaga posted an apology on Instagram saying they “...strongly condemn child abuse; it was never our intent to include it in our narrative … Balenciaga reiterates its sincere apologies for the offence we have caused.”

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