BOSTON (AP) — A white supremacist website has declared footwear manufacturer New Balance the “Official Shoes of White People.”
The Boston Globe reported the alt-right website The Daily Stormer made the proclamation on Saturday after New Balance vice president of public affairs Matt LeBretton praised Republican President-elect Donald Trump.
LeBretton told the Wall Street Journal that the election of Trump was a move in the “right direction.”
“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,” Matthew LeBretton, New Balance’s vice president of public affairs, told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday.
New Balance, which is based in Boston, later said the comment was referencing Trump’s stance opposing a proposed international trade agreement.
“New Balance has a unique perspective on trade in that we want to make more shoes in the US, not less,” it said in a statement last week.
Time for me to buy New Balance shoes: The only major company that still makes athletic shoes in the US praised Trump https://t.co/DtwWhuexkz
— Jessie Jane Duff – Text FIGHT to 88022 (@JessieJaneDuff) November 11, 2016
Still, LeBretton’s comment sparked protests: People who don’t like Trump posted social media videos of themselves throwing their New Balance shoes in the trash or even burning them.
The Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin said he believes New Balance’s support of Trump could be a marketing scheme. But he said the website is campaigning to buy the company’s products and is encouraging others to do the same.
LeBretton didn’t immediately return a request for comment about the support from the white supremacist website on Monday.
New Balance, which also sells fitness apparel, said in a tweet during the burning-shoes protest that it believes in community, humanity and “acting with the utmost integrity” and that it welcomes “all walks of life.”
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