It’s beyond disturbing that Gucci and Harry Styles would think it was appropriate to feature a grown man in an ad campaign standing in front of a toddler bed with a pink teddy bear T-shirt. The ad is clearly a nod to the controversial Balenciaga ad, which featured toddlers with teddy bears in bondage, which is both deeply disturbing and tasteless.
It’s not enough for Balenciaga to apologize for the ad campaigns, Gucci and its parent company Kering should also take responsibility for their part in promoting such a perverse message. It’s almost as if they think they can get away with anything without any consequences.
Even more concerning is that Gucci even had the gall to refer to the ad as a “performance piece” as if it were something to be celebrated. It’s a blatant attempt to gloss over the fact that they are promoting something fundamentally wrong and inappropriate.
— gucci (@gucci) December 12, 2022
It’s sickening to think that a luxury fashion brand like Gucci and an artist like Harry Styles would think this kind of ad is acceptable. It sends a message that there is nothing wrong with exploiting children, and it undermines the seriousness of the issue of child exploitation.
Critics quickly commented and immediately saw the connection between the Gucci ad and the controversial Balenciaga campaign.
Activist and heiress of the Gucci family, Alexandra Gucci Zarini, posted on her Instagram profile “@gucci Why would you create a ‘performance piece’ with a toddler’s mattress and an adult man? My concerns are that there seems to be a common ideology across Kering’s Fashion Houses.”
“Gucci are having Harry Styles pose alongside a child’s mattress with a pink teddy bear shirt. Why are all fashion brand ad makers sick creeps?” political commentator Sophie Cochran posted on Twitter.
Balenciagia was attacked, and rightly so, earlier this month when two separate ad campaigns showed children alongside teddy bears in bondage. Another included legal documents referencing a Supreme Court case about child pornography.
While Balenciaga apologized for the ad campaigns at the time, both Gucci and its parent company Kering remained silent. It seems they did not learn their lesson, and what’s worse do not care.