Balenciaga ontslaat modellenbureau na claims over mishandeling

Het modehuis handelde snel en adequaat nadat de Amerikaanse casting director James Scully notie kreeg van de duistere gang van zaken bij het modellenbureau in kwestie.

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Zo zit de vork in de steel:

Madia & Ramy, zoals het modellenbureau heet, organiseerde gisteren de casting voor de Balanciaga-show die aanstaande zondag, als onderdeel van Parijs Fashion Week, zal worden gehouden. En die verliep niet bepaald vlekkeloos. Sterker: meerdere modellen lieten casting director James Scully weten dat ze er ronduit mishandeld werden. Scully reageerde direct door hun verhaal op Instagram te delen:

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'I was very disturbed to hear from a number of girls this morning that yesterday at the Balenciaga casting Madia & Ramy (serial abusers) held a casting in which they made over 150 girls wait in a stairwell, told them they would have to stay over 3 hours to be seen and not to leave,' Aldus Scully in zijn lange betoog. 'In their usual fashion they shut the door, went to lunch and turned off the lights, to the stairs leaving every girl with only the lights of their phones to see. Not only was this sadistic and cruel it was dangerous and left more than a few of the girls I spoke with traumatized. Most of the girls have asked to have their options for Balenciaga cancelled as well as Hermès and Elie Saab who they also cast for because they refuse to be treated like animals.'

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Balenciaga biedt excuses aan

Uiteraard ging het nieuws vervolgens als een lopend vuurtje door modeland en bereikte het al snel het modehuis in kwestie: Balenciaga. Zij gaven toe dat zich problemen hadden voorgedaan tijdens de casting en dat ze direct tot actie waren overgegaan:

'On Sunday, February 26th Balenciaga took notice of issues with the model castings carried out on that day,' luidt het statement. 'The house reacted immediately, making radical changes to the casting process, including discontinuing the relationship with the current casting agency. Additionally, Balenciaga sent a written apology to the agencies of the models who were affected by this specific situation, asking them to share it with them. Balenciaga condemns this incident and will continue to be deeply committed to ensure the most respectful working conditions for the models.'

Het voorval is extra zuur omdat François-Henri Pinault, voorzitter van Kering, het luxeconcern waar Balenciaga onder valt, zich al lange tijd hard maakt voor een sociale, economische, ethische en sustainable verantwoorde business. Én hij is voorzitter van de Kering Foundation, die strijd tegen geweld tegen vrouwen.

Veel bekende namen supporten gisteren Scully's post op Instagram door zijn bericht te delen of erop te reageren, onder wie Joan Smalls, Kate Young, Helena Christensen, Carolyn Murphy, Julia Stegner, Alana Zimmer, Andrea Lieberman, Hilary Rhoda, George Cortina, Marion Hume en Robert Burke. En ook Antoine Arnault van LVMH, dat andere grote modehuizen als Louis Vuitton in bezit heeft, reageerde door te zeggen: 'If you hear of anything like this happening at our houses, please contact me directly.'

Scully beschuldigt in zijn post overigens ook verschillende modehuizen ervan tegen de regels in minderjarige modellen in hun shows te gebruiken én Lanvin van het uitsluiten van gekleurde modellen. Iets wat woordvoerder Sophie Boilley van Lanvin (het modehuis dat overigens een gekleurde vrouw, Bouchra Jarrar, als hoofdontwerper heeft) meteen uit de wereld hielp met het statement:

'These allegations are completely false and baseless.'

Lees hieronder de volledige post van Scully:

So true to my promise at #bofvoices that I would be a voice for any models, agents or all who see things wrong with this business I'm disappointed to come to Paris and hear that the usual suspects are up to the same tricks. I was very disturbed to hear from a number of girls this morning that yesterday at the Balenciaga casting Madia & Rami (serial abusers) held a casting in which they made over 150 girls wait in a stairwell told them they would have to stay over 3 hours to be seen and not to leave. In their usual fashion they shut the door went to lunch and turned off the lights, to the stairs leaving every girl with only the lights of their phones to see. Not only was this sadistic and cruel it was dangerous and left more than a few of the girls I spoke with traumatized. Most of the girls have asked to have their options for Balenciaga cancelled as well as Hermes and Ellie Saab who they also cast for because they refuse to be treated like animals. Balenciaga part of Kering it is a public company and these houses need to know what the people they hire are doing on their behalf before a well deserved law suit comes their way. On top of that I have heard from several agents, some of whom are black that they have received mandate from Lanvin that they do not want to be presented with women of color. And another big house is trying to sneak 15 year olds into paris! It's inconceivable to me that people have no regard for human decency or the lives and feelings of these girls, especially when too too many of these models are under the age of 18 and clearly not equipped to be here but god forbid well sacrifice anything or anyone for an exclusive right? If this behavior continues it's gonna be a long cold week in paris. Please keep sharing your stories with me and I will continue to to share them for you. It seems to be the only way we can force change and give the power back to you models and agents where it rightfully belongs. And I encourage any and all to share this post #watchthisspace

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