Saturday, September 18, 2021

‘Black at Nike’ Instagram Account Shut Down After Amplifying Racism at Company

American multinational sportswear manufacturer Nike logo
(Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

*Nike has denied being behind the removal of an Instagram account that highlighted allegations of racism at the company.

The account, called “Black at Nike,” featured current and former employees’ testimonies about personal experience with racism at Nike. 

The now-deactivated Instagram account noted that its mission was to amplify “Black voices from current and former Nike employees.” 

The page featured anonymous submissions from employees of color who shared allegations of racism — from the code words used for Black shoppers at retail stores to a plot to sell sneakers for cash in low-income areas, per Sole Collector

“I trained every Coach in my store and when a new role opened up, I wasn’t even considered for the promotion,” read one submission. “When I asked why, I was told I ‘wasn’t ready,’ but not given any real feedback on my performance. They hired a white woman instead. Who had to train her? Me.”

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“The Monday after George Floyd’s murder, we have a meeting of 50-plus employees to discuss the upcoming events for the week,” reads another. “The Director leading the session started with, ‘Let’s not waste time on anything irrelevant,’ and then proceeded—business as usual.”

“For years, WOC at Nike have been disrespected by white leaders in positions of power,” read one post from a week ago. “As a WOC working in Nike Sports Marketing, I experienced microaggressions, disrespect, and retaliation for speaking up.”

The IG account was reportedly followed by several notable Nike employees before the page was deleted this week. A Nike spokesperson said the brand has “no knowledge of who owns the accounts or why they were taken down.”

A spokesperson at Instagram confirmed that the platform did not remove the Black at Nike account.

“There are a number of reasons why an account may no longer be accessible from its prior URL, including, for example, if the account holder deleted the account, deactivated the account, or changed the account username,” the spokesperson said.

In a June 5 memo to employees, Nike CEO John Donahoe said the sportswear giant must get its “own house in order,” CNBC reported.

In response to the account itself, a Nike spokesperson said, in part: “We’re at our best when every member of the team feels respected, included and heard – when everyone can show up fully as themselves and have the opportunity to do their best work every day. To that end, we’re focused on four key areas across the company: increasing representation at all levels of the organization; providing professional development to support people to advance and grow their careers at Nike; embracing inclusion and belonging as a priority for our culture; and accelerating education to become a more inclusive culture.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

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