10 April 2006
Adidas accused of racism
Chinese-American groups have reacted with fury over Adidas' marketing of a HUF trainer with an image they claim perpetuates a negative image. The $250 shoe features an image of a Chinese man with bowl-cut hair, slanted eyes, pig nose and buckteeth.
"It's very sad and disturbing that in this day and age, this stereotype is coming from a global company like Adidas," said Vincent Pan, of Chinese for Affirmative Action in San Francisco.
HUF owner Keith Hufnagel dismissed the accusations of racism as "Internet garbage."
"They should do their studying before they say anything," Hufnagel said.
Adidas seems to have scored a spectacular own-goal with this move and it is hard to believe that no-one in the company even considered the negative publicity this might generate. In 2004, the Chinese government banned a "blasphemous" Nike advert in which a US basketball star defeats a cartoon kung-fu master, saying it offended national dignity. Don't be surprised to see a big Reebok (who, perhaps unbeknownst to many Chinese, are now owned by adidas) advertising campaign featuring basketball star Yao Ming in the near future.
(Source: BBC and Shanghai Daily)