Nike pulls balaclava from website after accusations of promoting gang culture
American multinational sportswear brand Nike removed a balaclava from their website entirely after a public outcry over photos of the item, which was shown covering the head and bottom half of a black male model’s face.
The balaclava, a collaboration between Nike and Alyx Studio designer Matthew Williams and priced at $92, was shown paired with straps that some interpreted as looking like a weapon holster.
Many Twitter users shared the photo to denounce it, tagging the brand in their tweets. “Hey @nike what are you thinking with this image on your website?” one user commented. “Is he wearing a balaclava and a holster? I wonder what’s meant to go in there.”
Many of the users responding to the product pointed to rising levels of knife crime in and around London, England as the reason for their anger, as well as concerns over racial profiling. “#knifecrime is out of control especially in London. Gang Culture is becoming out of control,” another user commented.
Balaclavas, also known as ski masks, are traditionally a military garment often used by winter sports athletes to keep their faces and necks warm in cold weather. The garment has recently appeared on the runways at shows from designers including Calvin Klein and Gucci.
The balaclava page on Nike’s website now produces no results, but the garment is still available on other retail websites.
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