New Balance are in hot water with many of their customers, after the running shoe company’s vice president made comments welcoming a Trump presidency.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal shortly after Trump’s election, Matthew LeBretton stated “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.”
The statement came after a question about Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which Trump has vehemently disagreed with. New Balance, which is the only remaining major shoe company still manufacturing in the States, would be impacted by the trade agreement which favours overseas manufacturers.
In response, many anti-Trump protesters began posting videos to social media of them burning, throwing out or flushing their New Balance shoes down the toilet.
— Janet Wu (@WuWCVB) November 10, 2016
This led the company to post a statement to their Twitter:
— New Balance (@newbalance) November 10, 2016
The post led to a white supremacist, alt-right website called The Daily Stormer to take advantage of the situation, and declared New Balance as the “Official Shoes of White People”. The bizarre alignment of a neo-Nazi organization to this popular shoe brand was just about the worst thing for public relations.
— grandpa scenekid@mff (@BoingBoingBun) November 10, 2016
This led the company to take to social media again to distance themselves with the hate group, claiming they “[do] not tolerate bigotry or hate in any form”.
Co-opting of their brand as the “uniform” for white-supremacists has further led many New Balance owners to toss out their shoes.
— ?✨ (@artsy_indy) November 10, 2016
Andrew Anglin, the man behind the Daily Stormer continued to trick New Balance owners after the post, claiming that the company’s second post was the result of their social media accounts being “hacked”.
Either way, things are not looking great for New Balance.
— Die in a dessert (@dimdown4que) November 10, 2016