New Balance issued another statement asserting that it “does not tolerate hate or bigotry in any form” after an alt-right website described New Balance as the “official shoes of white people.”
A social media uproar erupted last week after a New Balance official’s comments meant to support president-elect Donald Trump’s policy on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) were seen as overall support by the company for the candidate. The TPP is led by President Obama and strongly opposed by Trump. New Balance is the only major company that still makes athletic shoes in the U.S.
New Balance’s VP of Public Affairs Matt LeBretton told the Wall Street Journal’s Sara Germano that with Trump as president “things are going to move in the right direction.” He also said that the Obama administration had “turned a deaf ear” to New Balance.
Sole Collector put out a tweet about the news, saying “New Balance is the first major sportswear company to publicly back president-elect Donald Trump.” The company then faced a social media backlash that saw some people burning their New Balance sneakers in protest.
On Saturday, the white supremacist website The Daily Stormer published an article praising the shoe company for being the “official brand of the Trump Revolution” and encouraged followers to buy New Balance shoes.
In response, New Balance said in a statement issued Monday that appeared on its Instagram page, “New Balance does not tolerate hate or bigotry in any form. One of our officials was recently asked to comment on a trade policy that was taken out of context. 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 organization and culture that believes in humanity, integrity, community and mutual respect for people around the world. We have been and always will be committed to manufacturing in the United States.”
Monday’s response represented the company’s second statement following the social media incident.
In a statement issued on November 10, New Balance wrote, “As the only major company that still makes athletic shoes in the United States, New Balance has a unique perspective on trade in that we want to make more shoes in the United States, not less. New Balance publicly supported the trade positions of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump prior to election day that focused on American manufacturing job creation and we continue to support them today.
“We believe in community. We believe in humanity. From the people who make our shoes to the people who wear them, we believe in acting with the utmost integrity and we welcome all walks of life. Since 1906, we have carved our own path in being passionately committed to making things at our five factories in New England, even when nobody else did. New Balance and our thousands of employees around the world constantly strive to better our local communities.”