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Promoting Slavery'?: Adidas Under Fire for Sneakers That Include Orange Shackles

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"How would a Jewish person feel if they decided to have a shoe with a swastika on it and tried to claim it was OK in the name of fashion?"

(Photo: Adidas via Indie Wire)

Adidas has drawn harsh criticism with the promotion of its new JS Roundhouse Mids, new shoes that feature bright orange shackles reminiscent of those worn by slaves in the 19th century, or prison inmates today.  

"Got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?" the company asked over a Facebook promotion on June 14. 

"Tighten up your style with the JS Roundhouse Mids, dropping in August."

Check out the sneakers, below:

More than 7,000 people have "shared" the story, and more than 2,000 have left comments. 

One man, George Geder, commented: "I think it's inappropriate. The idea of being chained to Adidas or any object is repulsive."  Others maintain the product is "ignorant" and "promoting slavery." 

Dr Boyce Watkins, a professor at Syracuse University, weighed in: "Shackles. The stuff that our ancestors wore for 400 years while experiencing the most horrific atrocities imaginable...Most of which were never documented in the history books and kept away from you in the educational system, all so you'd be willing to put shackles on your ankles today and not be so sensitive about it."

He continued: "There is always a group of negroes who are more than happy to resubmit themselves to slavery...I'm offended by these shoes as there is nothing funny about the prison industrial complex, which is the most genocidal thing to happen to the black family since slavery itself." 

Another Facebook user, Kay Tee, wrote: "It's offensive and inappropriate in many ways. Not to mention ugly."  And regardless of whether it is intentionally referring to slavery and prison, the Facebook user continues, it is still "capitalizing on prison style popularity."

"How would a Jewish person feel if they decided to have a shoe with a swastika on it and tried to claim it was OK in the name of fashion?"

However, Yali Weiss points out: “Not everything with a chain is related to slavery.”

Adidas has not yet released an official comment.

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