Sportswear giant Adidas has apologized for “promoting slavery” with their ‘shackle’ sneakers.
Defending the shoe’s designer, Jeremy Scott, as having a “quirky” and “lighthearted” style, Adidas said Monday that it planned to cancel the shoe’s release.
“The design of the JS Roundhouse Mid is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott’s outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery,” the statement said. “We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace.”
The JS Roundhouse mids featured the LA Lakers’ orange and purple colors with orange cuffs links at the ankles similar to the shackles worn by Africans during the lucrative slavery trade in the south.
Activists and consumers expressed rage at the insensitive promotional photos, which are still posted on Adidas’ Facebook page.
“I literally froze up when I saw a new design from Adidas set to hit stores in August,” said Dr. Boyce Watkins in a post for the website Your Black World.
Dr. Boyce blamed the U.S. school system for diminishing the emphasis on slavery in modern history books — “all so you’d be willing to put shackles on your ankles today and not be so sensitive about it.”
Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson said “The attempt to commercialize and make popular more than 200 years of human degradation, where blacks were considered three-fifths human by our Constitution is offensive, appalling and insensitive.”
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