New Balance caught in social media storm

United States
Published:  16 November, 2016

A pro-Trump comment by Matt LeBretton, Vice-President Public Affairs, New Balance, sparked a wave of protests on social media, with some customers calling for a boycott of the brand and posting pictures of their shoes set on fire.

Sportswear manufacturer New Balance has been accused of openly supporting Donald Trump following LeBretton’s comment to the Wall Street Journal that “The Obama administration turned a deaf ear to us and, frankly, with President-Elect Trump we feel things are going to move in the right direction.”

Several people have been reported to tweet images and videos of themselves throwing their New Balance products in the garbage, with some even going as far as lighting their shoes on fire.

Following the events, the extreme-right website The Daily Stormer has proclaimed New Balance the “Official Shoes of White People”, leading New Balance to announce to The Associated Press late Monday that it “does not tolerate bigotry or hate in any form.” According to the Boston based manufacturer, LeBretton’s comments were taken out of context and he was simply referencing Trump’s opposition to the proposed TTPI, to which it also has opposed. 

“New Balance has a unique perspective on trade in that we want to make more shoes in the U.S., not less”, the company said in a recent statement. “As a 110-year-old company with five factories in the U.S. and thousands of employees worldwide from all races, genders, cultures and sexual orientations, New Balance is a values-driven organisation and culture that believes in humanity, integrity, community and mutual respect for people around the world”. 

Although most of its athletic footwear is manufactured overseas, sports shoes brand New Balance was openly opposed to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and claimed the deal would make imported goods cheaper and threaten jobs based in the U.S. For Jim Davis, New Balance’s owner and long-time Republican donor, domestic manufacturing in the U.S. remains a priority. Read more here.

Source: CBS News