NYT report outlines two racially insensitive Adidas ads featuring James Harden & Damian Lillard.
A new report by The New York Times alleges that Adidas doesn't practice what it preaches when it comes to the brand's overall image of inclusion and equality.
Per the NYT report:
"Interviews with more than 20 current or former Adidas employees show the company’s predominantly white leadership struggling with issues of race and discrimination. On the campus, known as Adidas Village, the employees say, race is a constant issue, leaving the relatively few black employees often feeling marginalized and sometimes discriminated against."
"Two black employees said they had been referred to with a common racist slur by white co-workers, one verbally and one in a text message seen by The Times. In both instances, the people believed the slur was intended as a joke, which they felt only highlighted the company’s skewed perspective on race."
According to the report, of the approximately 1,700 Adidas employees in Portland, fewer than 4.5% of the workers at Adidas' North American headquarters identify as black - and members of that group say they were frequently the only black person in meetings and sometimes feel discriminated against.
The report also calls into question two racially insensitive ads that never aired, featuring NBA stars James Harden and Damian Lillard.
"In 2016, there was a meeting about the company’s latest sneaker for Mr. Harden, the Houston Rockets star. One idea was to make the shoe part of the company’s “uncaged” line. The ads for “Harden Uncaged,” the thinking went, could feature Mr. Harden breaking free from a prison cell."
The other idea, titled “All Rise,” allegedly featured Lillard as a defendant in a courtroom, but Adidas never ran the ad after a black employee brought attention to the racial overtones of a black man being put on trial.