I bet you didn’t see this one coming!
As if 2016 weren’t screwed up enough, I learned today that neo-Nazis have fashion goals that have moved beyond leather trench coats and WWII paraphernalia.
Damn, this is gonna be a long post, so lets see if I can break it down, using Tweets where possible:
Less that 24 hours after it was announced that Donald Trump had won the Presidential race, Matthew LeBretton, New Balance’s vice president of public affairs, had this to say:
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
He might have been talking strictly about trade agreements, but even if that is the case, what’s up with ignoring the terror millions of people from minority communities were (are) feeling?
Oh, so as long as you’re making a little more profit, it doesn’t matter that you’re supporting the most loathsome, divisive, dangerous and hateful world leader since the rise of the man who shall not be named? And I don’t mean Voldemort.
Gotcha. As long as business is good, f**k everything else your candidate of choice stands for.
As you might expect, a lot of (presumably former) New Balance customers were displeased.
Now, you don’t need to be a graduate of the Saatchi & Saatchi school of marketing to know that LeBretton had just coated their sneakers in the biggest pile of poo anyone has ever jogged into.
We’re talking the poo of the Songhua River Mammoth.
There are solutions! You might say. Donate a few hundred thousand $’s to the ACLU! You might think. But no, they instead went with a weak PR statement that you could really have lifted from almost any other corporate catastrophe of the last decade:
You’ll notice there’s a little bragging in there, but no real intent to walk away from their expressed support for Trump.
Needless to say, this didn’t do much to stem the flood of anger from former customers.
They went quiet with that statement, going from usually 2 or 3 Tweets a day to nothing, perhaps hoping that would stem the collapse of their brand.
It might have worked, but then came the White Nationalists, who we all know fuck everything up at the earliest opportunity.
They’re like the drunk boyfriend your biker aunt brings to the family gathering, the one who spends the first hour insulting and offending everyone he encounters before shitting in the sink and setting your couch on fire.
Yeah, they’re a class act.
Neo-Nazi “Daily Stormer” blogger Andrew Anglin announced over the weekend that New Balance are now the “Official Shoes of White People.”
Translation: just like poor little green frog Pepe, the fascists are hijacking the brand.
As if that mere mention of the brand by a neo-Nazi were not enough, he went fuhrer, erm, I mean further:
This will be fantastic, we will be able to recognize one another by our sportswear.
Of course, New Balance returned with another pathetically weak statement:
The suggestion that LeBretton’s words were “taken out of context” is interesting. Remember, this is the statement:
with President-elect Trump, we feel things are going to move in the right direction
I’m not entirely sure how these words can be taken “out of context”. Then again, there are swathes of Trump supporters out there who still claim to not be racist, homophobic, misogynistic… that they managed to look past all that bile and hate and see something billions of people around the world couldn’t.
F**k knows how they managed that, I’m assuming tunnel vision and a rejection of reality has something to do with it.
It’s a real shame New Balance don’t make steel-toed work boots. They would come in handy when they try to extricate themselves from the massive hole they’ve just dug for their company.
But hey, LeBretton, look on the bright side, I’m sure you can easily convert your five factories to make steel-toed leather boots after you sign that supply contract with the Trump regime, y’know, to kit out his “Enforcement squads” or whatever he’s gonna call them.
Yes, I’m being ridiculous… I fucking hope.
Sorry, New Balance, there isn’t enough Fabreze in the world to get the stink out of your sneakers right now, you need to try a lot harder.