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Kanye West on Balenciaga campaign scandal: ‘All celebrities are controlled’

From friend to foe.

Kanye West — once one of Balenciaga’s biggest supporters and collaborators — is speaking out about the controversy surrounding the brand’s latest ad campaign, which features children modeling teddy bear-shaped bags with bondage accessories.

Stopped by paparazzi after church on Sunday, West seemed to call on his fellow stars to denounce the luxury label, which cut ties with the rapper in October following his series of anti-Semitic remarks.

“This just shows you all celebrities are controlled. You don’t see no celebrities talking about the Balenciaga situation,” West said, per TMZ.

“All of these celebrities out here, don’t let them influence you in any way, because they’re controlled by the people who really influence the world,” he added. “They’re not serving God.”

Balenciaga campaign

A few hours after West’s interview, his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian — who has starred in Balenciaga ad campaigns and almost exclusively wears the brand’s designs — issued her own statement on social media regarding the offending ads.

“I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened,” Kardashian tweeted, in part.

“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 — period.”

Kim Kardashian
Both West and ex-wife Kim Kardashian have been extremely supportive of the brand and creative director Demna in the past, both by appearing in Balenciaga campaigns and shows and by wearing the brand almost exclusively.

About an hour after her initial statement, Kardashian, 42, added an addendum about her partnership with the label, saying, “As for my future with Balenciaga, 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.”

Balenciaga ad campaign

Bella Hadid, who starred in a recent Balenciaga campaign, quietly deleted those photos from Instagram; Nicole Kidman, who also appeared in the advertisements, still has the images up, though many commenters have called on the pair to make public statements.

West has a long history with Balenciaga, having worked closely with creative director Demna for years, teaming up with him for a Yeezy Gap collaboration and even making his modeling debut last month at Balenciaga’s runway show in Paris.

During the same video interview in which he chastised celebrities for staying silent about the controversy, the “Gold Digger” rapper appeared to be wearing reworked Balenciaga designs emblazoned with his “Ye24” logo, which he said he plans to sell to the masses for $20.