If you wear Adidas Y1 HUF (Fong) shoes, there are a growing number of people who would say, “Yes.” CSR Asia’s Stephen Frost has been on the story for a while now:
More than three weeks ago, I posted a small story about the design on the tongue of the adidas Y1 HUF (Fong) sports shoe. And then a week ago, I noted several thoughtful pieces from US bloggers, but still concluded that the issue had hardly raised a chorus of condemnation for a shoe that some were calling racist. I noted at the time that the artist responsible for the design — Barry McGee — was usually associated with work that was interpreted as a response to racism.
Despite this, the last few days the near silence on the issue has turned into if not a chorus than at least the start of a chant. For a start, both the English- and Chinese-language press in Hong Kong has picked up on the issue, with today’s unlinkable South China Morning Post saying “Asian-American groups are complaining about German shoemaker Adidas’ release of a sneaker with an image they say perpetuates a negative stereotype of Asians. The limited-edition shoe, a collaboration between Adidas and San Francisco speciality clothing maker HUF, features an image of an Asian man with bowl-cut hair, slanted eyes, pig nose and buck teeth.” The SCMP also quotes an adidas spokeswoman who said the company “appreciates all self-expression” and “had no intention of offending any individual or group”, while “HUF owner Keith Hufnagel dismissed the accusations of racism as “internet garbage”.” I rarely make predictions, but if there’s anything to get bloggers writing up a storm about you, it’s the view that online opinion is garbage.
Much more over at CSR Asia. Tell us, do you find the image offensive?