Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Nike pulls shoe ad amid anti-gay concern

The world's largest sportswear and shoe company Nike Inc, pulled advertisements that some bloggers had dubbed anti-gay.

Controversy arose last week over poster and billboard ads for Nike's new Hyperdunk basketball shoes showing a basketball player's face in the groin of an opponent who is dunking a ball above him.

The print ads, accompanied by the slogan, "That ain't right," were dubbed homophobic, as well as offensive to African-Americans, by some bloggers and critics.

"The joke here ... is based on the implacable homophobia of straight jocks," the blog said in its post. "Nike should pull the ads. Or rework them to be friendlier to gay basketball fans, at least."

In a statement, Nike said the company would drop the ad campaign "to underline our ongoing commitment to supporting diversity in sport and the workplace."

But the ad in question, Nike said, is based "purely upon a common insight from within the game of basketball — the athletic feat of dunking on the opposition, and is not intended to be offensive."

Last week, privately-owned candy maker Mars Inc. pulled a television ad for its Snickers candy bar, according to civil rights group The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which had claimed the ad stereotyped gay men. Last February, Mars also pulled an ad that had run during the Super Bowl after complaints by gay advocacy groups.