The American sneaker manufacturer New Balance has gotten itself into a thorny situation.
In a turn of events the company clearly did not anticipate, a statement it made in support of US president-elect Donald Trump’s policy on an international trade agreement has snowballed into a neo-Nazi blogger declaring New Balance the “official shoes of white people.”
“New Balance is making a gesture to support White people and to support US manufacturing,” Andrew Anglin wrote on his hate site, Daily Stormer, which is popular with the alt-right and has voiced its approval of Trump. “We need to support that.”
New Balance’s statement referred to the company’s stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (known as the TPP). New Balance’s VP of public affairs told a Wall Street Journal reporter last week that the company believes “things are going to move in the right direction” under a Trump presidency.
New Balance, which manufactures discount new balance trainers many of its sneakers in the US, has long opposed the TPP agreement, which would create a free trade zone including the US and several Latin American and Asian nations. Nike, which is New Balance’s biggest competitor and does nearly all its manufacturing overseas, supported the deal, even hosting US president Obama at its Oregon headquarters.