When New Balance’s Vice President of public affairs Matthew LeBretton told the Wall Street Journal he supported one of Trump’s political choices, all hell broke lose.
“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 said, referring to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, an initiative strongly supported by President Obama, but opposed by President-elect Trump.
Of course, New Balance was quick to note they don’t support Trump’s other agendas. As the only major company that still makes sneakers in the United States, they believe the TPP would hinder American manufacturing and only further those businesses operating oversees. New Balance wants to “make more shoes in the US, not less,” according to their statement to the Boston Globe.
Unfortunately, neo-Nazi blogger Andrew Anglin agreed, declaring New Balance as the “Official Shoes of White People.”
“I’m a Nike guy. Or rather, I was. It’s time to get on-board with New Balance now. Their brave act has just made them the official brand of the Trump Revolution,” he posted on his website the Daily Stormer, which promotes anti-Semitism and white supremacy.
“New Balance is making a gesture to support White people and to support US manufacturing. We need to support that,” he continues. Finally, he suggests that all white supremacists wear the brand as a uniform to recognize each other by.
“This will be fantastic. We will be able to recognize one another by our sportswear.”
Naturally, not everyone was as supportive.
— skreetware (@milftears) November 10, 2016
— Jon Targaryen (@tbrooks__) November 10, 2016
Basically there was a lot of burning and dumping.
Although being opposed to the TPP is definitely not a bad thing (Bernie and Hillary opposed it too), most people were upset that the TPP seemingly took precedence over Trump’s racism and misogyny. New Balance were quick to fire back.
Our take? While supporting local manufacturing is in no way a bad thing (we do support New Balance’s ethos of keeping things local and ethical), it was probably pretty insensitive to suggest things are moving in the “right direction” with President-elect Trump, considering so many people are actually living in fear because of his policies. How will this play out for New Balance? Only time will tell.