Following last week’s U.S. presidential election, New Balance found itself making headlines after becoming the first major sportswear brand to comment on the outcome. The brand’s ill-timed statement, which came directly from New Balance VP of public affairs Matt LeBretton, was intended to support its stance against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but was instead interpreted as pro-Trump by many longtime supporters and sneaker fans.
As a result, several New Balance fans protested by burning the brand’s sneakers on social media, and things have only gotten uglier since then. Over the weekend, an alt-right extremist website went as far as to say that New Balance is now the “official brand of the Trump Revolution” and “the official shoes of white people.” Now, New Balance is speaking up to clarify its controversial comments and attempting to rectify the situation.
In an official statement posted Monday on Instagram, the brand said, “New Balance does not tolerate hate or bigotry in any form. One of our officials was recently asked to comment on a trade policy that was taken out of context.” This statement referenced LeBretton’s comments, which were originally reported by Wall Street Journal‘s Sara Germano.
In Monday’s Instagram statement, New Balance added, “As a 110-year old company with five factories in the U.S. and thousands of employees worldwide from all races, genders, cultures, and sexual orientations, New Balance is a values-driven organization and culture that believes in humanity, integrity, community, and mutual respect for people around the world.”