Last month, people took to social media to share videos of themselves trashing and burning New Balance sneakers following a statement issued by the company in support of president-elect Donald Trump and his position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Due to the massive amount of backlash, New Balance was forced to clarify its position, making it clear that the original statement only applied to the context of the TPP. However, emphasizing business during a time when people are concerned about humanity proved to be, at best, a misstep during a very heated time in the country.
Now, one of the sneaker industry's biggest influencers isn't only backing president-elect Trump — he's doubling down. Kanye West, who previously announced intention to run for president in 2020, first made his pro-Trump position clear during a concert in San Jose last month. "I didn't vote, but if I did, I would have voted for Trump," West told a stunned audience, drawing loud boos and walkouts from some of his biggest fans. A few days later, West canceled his multi-city Saint Pablo Tour and was hospitalized for undisclosed reasons.
In one of his first public appearances since leaving the hospital on Nov. 30, West surprisingly showed up at Trump Tower for a meeting with Trump on Tuesday. In a series of tweets following the meeting, West explained that he met with the president-elect to discuss multicultural issues such as bullying, supporting teachers, modernizing curriculums and violence in his home city of Chicago. Still, seeing the man who once used his platform to tell the world that "George Bush doesn't care about black people" act chummy with a man who launched his political career with bigotry, campaigned on divisiveness and is staffing his cabinet with openly racist individuals is a tough pill to swallow for many longtime West fans. But are his supporters, like former New Balance wearers, willing to give up his highly coveted products in an effort to take a stand?
With this in mind, we took to Twitter and our other social media channels to ask readers a question: Does Kanye West's recent support of Donald Trump make you less likely to support his products? As expected, the reactions were quite mixed. Some fans are turning away from purchasing Yeezy sneakers and other West-endorsed products, while others won't let his political views affect their appreciation of him as a musician and creator. Following a year that saw Adidas grow substantially in the sports and footwear market, largely in part because of its West-backed Boost technology, the timing of his latest stunt could have been damaging. Instead, it seems that while he lost some of his supporters, there's more than enough to fill the void moving forward. See some of the best Twitter responses below.