People are burning their New Balance sneakers over a statement from the company about President-elect Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal's Sarah Germano tweeted the following quote from Matt LeBretton, New Balance's vice president of public affairs:
New Balance: "The Obama admin turned a deaf ear to us & frankly w/ Pres-Elect Trump we feel things are going to move in the right direction"-; Sara Germano (@germanotes) November 9, 2016
Some interpreted this as an endorsement of Trump and turned to social media to express their outrage. Videos showed people throwing New Balance shoes in the trash and setting sneakers on fire.
LeBretton later clarified to BuzzFeed that the statement was meant to be taken solely in the context of trade, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, specifically. He said the company is not interested in "getting involved in the politics of presidential elections."
The company has publicly opposed the TPP agreement, which would lower tariffs to encourage trade between the U.S. and certain Asian countries. New Balance is one of the few U.S. sneaker companies that still makes sneakers -- at last count, about 25 percent of its total production, according to the Journal -- in the U.S, though the ratio has dwindled as it has ramped up production in China and Vietnam.
"As the only major company that still makes athletic shoes in the United States, New Balance has a unique perspective on trade in that we want to make more shoes in the United States, not less," a company spokesperson said in a statement provided to Business Insider on Thursday. "New Balance publicly supported the trade positions of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump prior to election day that focused on American manufacturing job creation and we continue to support them today."
Nike, which is still by far the world's largest sportswear maker, makes most of its shoes in Vietnam, according to the Journal. The company affirmed its support of the TPP in a statement to Germano on Wednesday:
Nike, world's largest sportswear co., relies heavily on free trade as most products are made abroad. Statement on Trump election in/re TPP: pic.twitter.com/egak818k0Q-- Sara Germano (@germanotes) November 9, 2016