According to an official statement from sneaker brand Adidas, the company has been a victim of hoax that included several false statements being distributed to media outlets.
In response to the hoax, the company has issued the following:
“Earlier today it was announced that adidas would be appointing a Cambodian worker to Co-CEO alongside Bjorn Gulden, and would sign a binding independent ethical labour framework designed by trade unions, workers and NGOs. These false statements are a hoax and do not represent the position of adidas AG or the adidas Board of Directors.
“The company will be pursuing all forms of legal remedy worldwide to strip the perpetrators of any freedoms that allow them to perpetuate these damaging claims. To this end adidas wishes to counter the false claims:
- adidas is not “inverting the corporate structure of the company” and it is not inviting garment workers or trade unionists into the board room.
- The 30,190 workers in eight of adidas’ Cambodia-based supplier factories that claim €11.2 million must make do without. Adidas will not be paying roughly €380 each to the workers. Further, this amount represents just .0005 percent of the €22 billion in revenues in 2022. Since adidas has had strong profits, there is no motive for withholding pay. In other words, adidas will not be paying workers more, period. Because they are not ours. They are their own people, with autonomy and dignity.
- Although our suppliers have had many labour disputes, including those in Indonesia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Mexico, Turkey, El Salvador, Myanmar, Cambodia etc., adidas is not responsible for everything our suppliers do or don’t do, who they pay or don’t pay, and whose rights they respect or not for small economic gains. If adidas suppliers deem it necessary to engage in wage theft because of our aggressive purchasing strategies, it is within their rights to do so.
- adidas has not committed to pay €9 cents more per t-shirt to ensure all garment workers are paid the full poverty wages and severance they are owed. Even though they made our products and therefore our profits possible, there are many subsidiary jobs they could take in their spare time, outside of their 15-hour shifts, that could help cover their essentials such as food, rent and healthcare. Or, failing that, foraging for food is an option we know some workers take up. We have faith in their ability to be enterprising.
- adidas will not be launching a line of “Realitywear” and there is no involvement of adidas partners Bad Bunny, Philllllthy or Pharrel Williams in the alleged fictional clothing line. Furthermore, to our knowledge, the garments mentioned have not been worn for six months by the unpaid workers in the adidas supply chain. adidas will legally pursue anyone who shares, likes, or promotes photographs or videos of the fake garments, or who tries to remix the adidas brand in any way.
- adidas will not be signing a binding agreement that commits the brand to prioritising workers’ right to freedom of association. We recognise this is a fundamental human right, enshrined in the UN declaration of human rights, however we believe our suppliers when they say they respect human rights and feel they have no reason to hide the truth. Our business is cool garments, not prying.
- adidas is not widely known to currently have slave labour in its supply chain: when it was discovered in recent years that there were abuses of Uyghur labour in Xinjiang, adidas revealed no contractual relationships with the slavery-prone suppliers. Although trace amounts of slavery-forward cotten have continued to be found in adidas products, adidas in full compliance with EU law and fully respects the autonomy of our suppliers who have different cultural standards, legal frameworks, and bottom-line imperatives that must guide procurement. Our board at adidas is composed of abolitionists who have never knowingly kept slaves or endorsed slavery in any way.
- adidas did not support the policies that resulted in the selection of Qatar for the World Cup and is not at all responsible for the death of indentured workers there.
- adidas did not foot the bill for corruption at FIFA through ISL; the corruption and Ponzi schemes were the sole responsibility of that company which was founded but not run by adidas CEO Horst Dassler. It was all ISL, which is now defunct.
- Although there were Supreme Court documents referring to child porn appearing under our handbag in an advertisement from the adidas / Balenciaga collaboration, we did not make the advert. adidas opposes the pornography of children and young adults, as well as other perversions like bestiality that may or may not appear in past or future advertising without board approval from adidas AG.
- adidas does not have a history of Nazism or greenwashing. The company was founded in 1949, four years after World War 2. Although the founder of the company had previously been a member of the Nazi party, he had also provided the shoes that secured victory for the incomparable Jesse Owens in the 1938 Olympics, which is hardly a thing any real Nazi would tolerate. Furthermore, adidas proved it is even willing to cut ties with the most profitable Black Nazi promoter in history, when it cut ties with Ye and Yeezy despite billions of euros in potential lost revenue.
- Although the leather from kangaroos can be found in our products, and two million wild kangaroos are killed per year for so-called K-leather, not all of adidas products contain K-leather and not all kangaroos are killed for adidas. Furthermore, the details about the gestation period of Kangaroos in the misleading hoax website are incorrect. 34 weeks, and not 30, is the standard gestation period before the baby kangaroo emerges at the size of a jellybean to relocate into the mother’s pouch, which is lined inside and out with soft, durable, and pliable leather that consumers crave.
“Finally, adidas wants to reiterate that the company is fully committed to human rights and environmental stewardship, and strives to have the best programme of corporate social responsibility in our industry. Our string of successes in that area speaks for itself.”