When a pair of Jeremy Scott-designed high-top Adidas sneakers with shackles around the ankles appeared on the Adidas Originals Facebook page earlier this week, critics almost immediately began expressing complete outrage, deeming the shoe offensive and slavery-glorifying. As a result, Adidas reps sent out a statement on Monday (June 18) evening announcing they would be pulling the shoe, dubbed the “Slave” sneaker, from the marketplace.
“Our collaboration with Jeremy Scott has always stood for creativity and originality,” read a statement released by the company’s publicist. “Jeremy Scott is renowned as a designer whose style is quirky and lighthearted and his previous shoe designs for adidas Originals have, for example, included panda heads and Mickey Mouse. 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. Since the shoe debuted on our Facebook page ahead of its market release in August, adidas has received both favorable and critical feedback. We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace.”
Scott took to his Twitter page to defend his design, writing, “MY WORK HAS ALWAYS BEEN INSPIRED BY CARTOONS, TOYS & MY CHILDHOOD…” and “The Actual Inspiration for Jeremy Scott’s Not-’Racist’ Adidas Sneakers: My Pet Monster,” before attaching a twitpic of the inspiration (see below).
Fans of Scott also took to the social media networking site to defend the designer’s work. One tweeter wrote, “They tryn to call that man @ITSJEREMYSCOTT a racist for his new shoe… Lol people play the race card with anything man,” while another said, “@ITSJEREMYSCOTT There was absolutely nothing offensive about the shoes and this is coming from an african american. Jeremy Scott is awesome!”
JS followed the barrage of positive tweets from his followers by posting a link to Prince’s video to the song “Controversy,” writing, “FOR THE RECORD THIS IS THE ONLY CONTROVERSY THAT I LIKE.” (Watch video here).
Meanwhile, others continued to express their negative opinions on the shoe, with one person posting on Twitter, “Those Adidas shackle sneakers are a product of rappers glamorizing criminal behavior & prison for years.”
Adidas is not the only sneaker brand to cause this type of controversy this year. A couple of months ago, Nike faced public outburst for its Black & Tan shoes, which some took as a reference to British abuse of Irish citizens in the 1920s. Nike released an apology in response.
Do you think Adidas made a wise choice in pulling the “Shackles” sneakers? Vote below.
—Mariel Concepcion (@Mceezy)