Written by Jada Dukes, Staff Writer
New Balance Athletic Inc. experienced major backlash for endorsing Donald Trump. Immediately after Donald Trump was announced as President-elect, the Vice President of Public affairs for New Balance, Matt LeBretton, made a statement on behalf of the corporation that was seen as a full on endorsement by its customers.
“With President-elect Trump we feel things are going to move in the right direction” LeBretton said in an interview held the day after the election, according to the Wall Street Journal. This comment came about when LeBretton spoke of New Balance’s longstanding opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, saying that President Obama turned a deaf ear to them.
According to the New York Times, New Balance feels that the Trans-Pacific Partnership “will hurt its production of shoes in the United States while rewarding competitors that make more of their products overseas.” Trump has made known his disapproval of the trade deal as well, which explains LeBrettons statement.
Customers were enraged by LeBretton’s comments and took to social media and the New Balance website to express their disdain. Videos and pictures of customers burning their sneakers, throwing them in the trash and calling for a boycott of New Balance surfaced all over the internet.
These comments also garnered praises from Trump supporters and members of the “Alt-Right” community. According to the New York Times the Daily Stormer, a website in support of white supremacy declared New Balances to be “the official shoes of white people”
In response to the controversy New Balance has released several statements denouncing bigotry, racism and homophobia. The Corporation also claiming that the statements made about the Trans-Pacific Partnership were “taken out of context”
It seems as though New Balance has found itself in between a rock and a hard place. It is as if the words “Donald Trump” and “White supremacist” have become mutually exclusive and now no one can give praises to Trump without being accused of being a racist, but to be completely fair it is hard to not make this assumption when the President-elect refuses to denounce white supremacy and the many white supremacists that support him.
It becomes even more difficult when the President-Elect decides to wage war on Broadway production casts instead of providing the American citizens who felt attacked by his hate speech and derogatory comments towards Mexican Americans, Muslim Americans and women with words that will assure them that he is going to be their president too and that he will work to protect them as well.
So until then, it would probably be best for any major corporations or businesses that do not support bigotry or racism to refrain from mentioning President-elect Trump until he makes it safe to do so.