Major Threat

Every so often, herohill reps disagree. Some of us like the banjo on songs, where as some of us like the hip hop. Jebus, some of us even like Mitsou. One thing we disagree on is Nike. Some of us believe it is a company that has made cool kickers since back in the day and that every company has skeletons in their closets so who cares what they do, where as some of us believe that Nike is guilty (we are not naive enough to believe that Nike is alone in this practice – but Nike seems to laugh in the face of authorities trying to force them to change.) of overcharging for shoes, and underpaying the workers in third world countries who make them.


Everyone has heard the stories, and although Nike’s popularity makes them an easy target (along with large, rich companies like Walmart), facts are facts. Sub standard working conditions and wages in Nike factories are the norm, not the exception. Phil Knight has been quoted as saying Nike helps leads these third world countries out of poverty by paying workers more than they would get working anywhere else. He neglects to mention the fact the company forces children to work for 12 hours a day to make the minimum wage, and Nike has pulled a “cut and run” strategy on several occasions (leaving the country to find even cheaper labor after employing laborers and setting up the “sweatshops”). Other atrocities include:
· Physical and verbal abuse of workers in Nike factories in Vietnam and El Salvador
· The Indonesian military being employed by a Nike contractor to intimidate workers during wage negotiations
· Nike refusing to reinstate Vietnamese workers who have been humiliated and dismissed for talking to journalists
· Workers being sacked for trying to organize unions in Nike factories in El Salvador, Thailand and Indonesia
· Severe fire hazards in a Nike factory in China

These facts aren’t new, and in recent years the high-profile examples have forced Nike to increase worker standards, but still Nike continues to break promises and ignore public outcry to improve worker conditions. Nike, and other large corporations seem to think they are above the law and can play by their own rules.

The other day, a story surfaced that Nike stole the imagery and design from a classic Minor Threat album for an ad to help make their skate boarding shoes seem cooler. They never asked permission from Dischord records. Minor Threat was a DIY band that prided themselves on being anti-establishment. Nike is using Minor Threat’s underground image to make themselves look cooler in a culture that would normally reject Nike (or any big company). I know people will probably say, “who cares?” Well this is why I care. Can Dischord/Minor Threat afford to battle Nike in court? Nope, and even if they could, it would just give Nike more free publicity before they were forced to pay Dischord a stupid fine and move on. For people who don’t hear the story and simply see they add, they will assume Minor Threat/Dischord sold out and gave in to Nike. They will lose the credibility they have worked on maintaining for years. What can you do? Start by emailing Nike and telling them how you feel - http://swoosh.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/swoosh.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php.

UPDATE - Nike claims no harm no foul. Nike has issued an apology, and told Dischord that the people who made it were Minor Threat fans! Great. Nike is sorry and promises to never do it again. Here is the apology in full:

To: Minor Threat, Dischord Records and fans of both

Re: Major Threat East Coast Tour Poster

Nike Skateboarding sincerely apologizes for the creation of a tour poster inspired by Minor Threat's album cover. Despite rumors being circulated, Wieden & Kennedy and Odopod had nothing to do with the creation of this tour poster and should not be held accountable. To set the record straight, Nike Skateboarding's "Major Threat" Tour poster was designed, executed and promoted by skateboarders, for skateboarders. All of Nike employees responsible for the creation of the tour flyer are fans of both Minor Threat and Dischord Records and have nothing but respect for both.

Minor Threat's music and iconographic album cover have been an inspiration to countless skateboarders since the album came out in 1984. And for members of the Nike Skateboarding staff, this is no different. Because of the album's strong imagery and because our East Coast tour ends in Washington, DC, we felt that it was a perfect fit. This was a poor judgment call and should not have been executed without consulting Minor Threat and Dischord Records.

We apologize for any problems this may have caused, and want to make very clear that we have no relationship with the members of Minor Threat, Dischord Records and they have not endorsed our products.

Every effort has been made to remove and dispose of all flyers (both print and digital). Again, Nike Skateboarding sincerely apologizes to Minor Threat and Dischord Records.

Sincerely,
Nike Skateboarding


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