Reports of Adidas' internal racism issues continue today as a group of 200-plus employees approach a full week of protests. The outcry, which comes weeks after the police murder of George Floyd and the resulting unrest, was sparked by Adidas Originals Assistant Apparel Director Julia Bond.
Last week, Bond reportedly sent a note to Adidas' North American leadership criticizing the brand's response and calling out what she described as a "racist work environment." Her message was supported by a steadily growing group of employees, who have been protesting at the brand's Portland headquarters since last Friday.
Today, as employees continue to rally around Bond and take a stand against the company's alleged racism, new details are surfacing about troubling incidents that are said to have occurred behind closed doors at the Three Stripes. Speaking with Highsnobiety, Bond described two separate instances—both of which reportedly took place after 2019's New York Times report on the brand's racial disparities.
One of Bond's experiences included an interaction with Adidas Senior Vice President of Global Design Nic Galway, in which he reportedly used an image of a white skateboarder wearing a confederate flag. She also claims that white employees at the brand were known to describe Black co-workers as "moving at a coon's pace" when they were late to meetings.
Bond isn't the only one speaking up. Adidas US Sports Footwear Designer Aric Armon elaborated on the treatment of Black employees at the Three Stripes. "There are not a lot of minorities in this company…It allows certain people to think they’re able to make racist comments, or feel like they’re entitled to be able to call people the N-word and whatnot," Armon tells Highsnobiety.
Yesterday, Adidas increased its $20 million donation to Black communities to $120 million, meeting one of the demands laid out by protestors. However, one of the group's other requests, an apology to employees, has yet to be made.
"Money is a very empty thing, and these are all symptomatic promises, but they are not addressing the systemic changes that need to happen within the brand," Bond said, adding that she and her co-workers will continue to protest until an apology is made "for the racism and discrimination that [Adidas] has openly enabled and perpetuated."
Adidas has declined to offer further comment at this time.