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Fact-Checking Twitter's Absurd Balenciaga Conspiracy Theory

Balenciaga might have left Twitter, but that hasn’t stopped the social media platform from dissecting the brand’s every move.

On Monday, June Nicole Lapine, better known as @shoe0nhead, took to Elon Musk’s Twitter to imply that the luxury fashion label is exploiting children — an unsubstantiated claim rendered even more preposterous by the YouTuber’s reasoning.

the brand “Balenciaga” just did a uh….. interesting… photoshoot for their new products recently which included a very purposely poorly hidden court document about ‘virtual child porn’

normal stuff pic.twitter.com/zjMN5WhZ0s

— shoe (@shoe0nhead) November 21, 2022

She begins by highlighting Balenciaga’s new Objects collection, promoted with a campaign starring some very stylish children. There’s nothing inappropriate about the images, but Lapine builds her case by erroneously linking the campaign to photographs promoting the label’s collaboration with adidas — a totally separate project.

Said photographs feature the collaboration’s Three Stripes handbag atop a pile of very official looking documents. Upon zooming in, one of those documents reveals itself to be a copy of United States v. Williams, a Supreme Court ruling that upheld the PROTECT Act, a federal law that criminalizes advertising, promoting, presenting, or distributing child pornography.

A bizarre choice in set dressing? Absolutely. Definitive proof that, as Lapine suggests, Balenciaga is involved in some wider conspiracy involving child abuse? Hardly.

She goes on to cite Balenciaga’s wiped Instagram feed as further indication of the brand’s supposed guilt. Of course, anyone who follows the company knows that it periodically erases its feed to reflect its latest drop.

Balenciaga could not immediately be reached for comment. At the time of publishing, its official Instagram was replenished with campaign imagery for its Spring/Summer 2023 collection, which released for pre-order on Monday morning.

Some particularly zealous conspiracy theorists commented on the label’s fresh posts with references to Lapine’s claims, which have garnered tens of thousands of likes and re-tweets.

epstein should have made everyone stop being so afraid of being called a conspiracy theorist

— shoe (@shoe0nhead) November 21, 2022

While it’s tempting to buy into salacious plot lines, Lapine presents zero evidence that, as she suggests, Balenciaga is tied up in some sort of Epstein-esque child abuse ring. Of course, she’s just doing what the internet does best: making mountains out of molehills in the name of clicks.

Hey, we all do it — but at the very least, Lapine could get her facts straight.

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