More Detailed Incidents of Racism at adidas Emerge

The recent deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd are the latest tragic instances of police brutality taking away the lives of Black people in this country. The murders are not isolated incidents, however. They are a byproduct of the systemic racism that is woven into the fabric of the United States across all facets.

While the #BlackLivesMatter movement is not new (nor a trend), the recent deaths of Floyd and Taylor have resulted in demands for justice through protests around the world. Footwear brands have also lent a hand by releasing statements in solidarity with the Black community as well as committing funds to several organizations.

However, employees within these brands have called out their organizations to address their internal racism. Julia Bond, adidas Originals Assistant Apparel Director, voiced her frustrations, which led to a protest outside of the headquarters with demands, including a public apology by adidas to its employees.

adidas Protest (via Bernadette Little)

adidas responded the next day but did not address Bonds nor the incidents she lined out in her letter.

The company added to its initial response by pledging to donate $20M to Black communities and resources. Later on, adidas bumped up the donation to $120M over five years. The brand also made it clear that it will add more Black and Latinx employees to its team.

However, Bonds and other adidas employees are not satisfied by the efforts.

“Money is a very empty thing, and these are all symptomatic promises, but they are not addressing the systemic changes that need to happen within the brand,” Bond said.”

In an article penned in Highsnobiety by Gerald Flores, it digs into a handful of occasions and incidents that led to the internal uprising at the Portland headquarters. The article also demands more from adidas in response to its own racism.

The article documents that racial slurs, the use of a confederate flag within a creative brief, the exploitation of Black employees, and more have led up to the frustration and vocalness by adidas employees.

“The issue is really coming from a different angle because the higher-ups don’t seem to really try and educate themselves,” said Aaron Ture in the article (product manager of adidas-owned Reebok). “The very head of HR does not see how she has basically executed her white privilege and silenced people of color with her racist statements,” Ture added.

The group of employees delivered a 32-page deck with the immediate demands they want to see from the company. They include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • 31% representation of Black and Latinx employees across all levels of the company by the end of 2021
  • Overall commitment of $50 million of global sales to funding Black communities
  • Partner with vetted external nonprofits to raise $100 million annually to end systematic racism and injustice for Black people

adidas has yet to address the accusations made by employees about its alleged toxic, racist environment.

Keep it locked at Nice Kicks as the story develops.

Image via Gia Goodrich for Highsnobiety

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