Racism At Adidas Continues, New Accusations Surface

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Julia Bond and Adidas employees protest at the brand’s North American headquarters.

PORTLAND, OREGON  — On June 8, 2020, D.M. Fashion Book reported that several minority employees at German sportswear, sneaker and apparel giant adidas staged a protest after the brand orchestrated several high-profile moments aimed at lending its voice and platform to the fight against racial injustice in America (see it here).

A group of 13 adidas employees representing 150 colleagues demanded that the sportswear giant make changes, specifically that the company “invest in its Black employees; invest in the Black community; invest in the fight for racial justice and change for Black people; and demonstrate accountability” (see it here).

Responding to this letter, adidas has now announced a string of new initiatives. The headline announcement from the sportswear giant is the investment of $20 million USD in programs to support the Black community. Additionally, the company is set to finance 50 university scholarships for Black employees, and both adidas and Reebok have announced plans to increase representation of Black and Latinx people across their workforces (see it here).

A few hours later, we gave another update: After initially announcing $20,000,000 USD in donations to support the Black community, adidas has now upped its commitment to $120,000,000 USD over the next four years. In a series of tweets, the brand expounded on its charitable initiatives and future plans, also issuing a statement to “give credit where it’s long overdue.” adidas also doubled down on its commitment to increase diversity in hiring practices, stating that 30% of all open internal and external positions would be filled with Black and Latinx talent while 50% of all open positions will be filled with “diverse” talent (see it here).

Racism at adidas continues as a group of 200-plus employees approach a full week of protests. The outcry, which comes weeks after the police murder of George Floyd and the resulting unrest, was sparked by Adidas Originals Assistant Apparel Director Julia Bond.

Last Friday (June 11), as employees continue to rally around Bond and take a stand against the company’s alleged racism, new details surfaced about troubling incidents that are said to have occurred behind closed doors at the company  known for its Three Stripes. Speaking with Highsnobiety, Bond described two separate instances—both of which reportedly took place after 2019‘s New York Times report on the brand’s racial disparities.

One of Bond‘s experiences included an interaction with Adidas Senior Vice President of Global Design Nic Galway, in which he reportedly used an image of a white skateboarder wearing a confederate flag. She also claims that white employees at the brand were known to describe Black co-workers as “moving at a coon’s pace” when they were late to meetings.

Bond isn’t the only one speaking up. Adidas US Sports Footwear Designer Aric Armon elaborated on the treatment of Black employees at the Three Stripes. “There are not a lot of minorities in this company…It allows certain people to think they’re able to make racist comments, or feel like they’re entitled to be able to call people the N-word and whatnot,” Armon tells Highsnobiety.

One of the group’s other requests, an apology to employees, has yet to be made.

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, adding that she and her co-workers will continue to protest until an apology is madefor the racism and discrimination that [Adidas] has openly enabled and perpetuated.”

Photos Credit: Instagram Reproduction via @annamchurch

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Donovan is the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of www.dmfashionbook.com. For all general inquiries please email don@dmfashionbook.com Donovan has a BA in Journalism & Media Studies from the prestigious Rutgers University. He's currently studying entertainment and fashion law.