Adidas Sparks Uproar With Shackled “Slavery Shoe” [Updated]

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adidas is under fire after posting a picture of its upcoming JS Roundhouse Mids on the adidas Originals Facebook page. JS is short for Jeremy Scott, the provocative designer who has had a longstanding association with adidas Originals, while the shoe is part of his upcoming Fall/Winter collection for the brand, which is slated for release in August.

Unlike the uproar over Nike’s Black and Tan shoe back in March, it’s not the colors or name that’s offending, but the rubber shackles attached to them that remind some observers (such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson) of the ankle chains that imprisoned African American slaves. That the “adidas” name is also part of the “shackles” is raising hackles (and heckles).

Even so, the brand defended the design and the designer.

“The design of the JS Roundhouse Mid is nothing more than the designer Jeremy Scott‘s outrageous and unique take on fashion and has nothing to do with slavery,” a spokesperson for the brand commented about the Facebook photo, which has been removed. “Jeremy Scott is renowned as a designer whose style is quirky and lighthearted … Any suggestion that this is linked to slavery is untruthful.”

Scott, meanwhile, has deflected criticism of the so-called “slavery sneaker” on Twitter. Update: The designer later tweeted a link to a picture of “My Pet Monster,” a plush toy wearing “magic cuffs” released by American Greetings in 1986 that spawned a one-season ABC cartoon series, as the inspiration for the shoe.

Nevertheless, despite initially defending the designer, adidas is pulling the shoe, stating: “We apologize if people are offended by the design and we are withdrawing our plans to make them available in the marketplace.”

See Scott’s Fall/Winter 2012 adidas Originals collection that included the shoe (along with a close-up) below, and let us know what you think in the comments.[more]

[Images via]

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