Adidas UK’s social media campaign encouraging customer interaction turns into a platform for anti-Semites.

By United With Israel Staff

On Monday, Adidas UK sportswear company was caught off guard.

Following a social media Twitter campaign promoting its new Arsenal jersey, its account was hijacked by anti-Semites using shocking “handles.” A “handle” is a personal ID on Twitter that starts with @.

Adidas UK found its Twitter account filled with racist and abusive content, forcing the campaign to be taken down. However, the company’s delay in stopping the campaign exposed many of its 800,000 followers to hate-filled statements.

As noted in The Guardian, people were encouraged to tweet the brand using the hashtag #DareToCreate. This would automatically create an image of the new Arsenal jersey with the person’s Twitter handle shown on its back.

Within a day of its launch, Adidas’s account was spewing out pictures of Arsenal jerseys with offensive slogans. These included @GasAllJewss and #InnocentHitler.

A spokesman for Adidas told The Guardian, “As part of our partnership launch with Arsenal, we have been made aware of the abuse of a Twitter personalisation mechanic created to allow excited fans to get their name on the back of the new jersey. Due to a small minority creating offensive versions of this, we have immediately turned off the functionality and the Twitter team will be investigating.”

“We totally condemn the use of language of this nature, which has no place in our game or society,” Arsenal football club said, according to The Guardian. “We work hard as a club to encourage diversity and inclusion through our Arsenal for Everyone programme, launched in 2008 as a celebration of the diversity of the Arsenal family.”

This is not the first time that Arsenal, one of the United Kingdom’s most popular soccer teams, has faced anti-Semitic attacks. In May, disgruntled fans performed the Nazi salute and placed a finger above their lip to mimic Hitler’s mustache. The game was being played on Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In 2018, Arsenal fans in Belgian sang about “burning Jews.” JTA reported at the time, “In some cases, fans chant it to taunt counterparts from rival teams that are seen as historically Jewish.”

Adidas opened in Germany in 1924. It is now a global company that employs over 57,000 people from about 100 nations.

It is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second-largest in the world.

Its homepage states, “Sport is central to every culture and society and is core to an individual’s health and happiness. Therefore, we believe that, through sport, we have the power to change lives.”

Adidas’s Twitter team has launched an investigation into the incidents.