Sporting goods giant Nike said Friday
it was ready to withdraw print ads criticized as homophobic, The
Associated Press is reporting.
The print ads, already showing in New
York City subway stations, show a basketball player dunking a ball
with his crotch slammed in the face of another player. The tag lines
read: “That Ain't Right,” or “Is That Cute.”
The company at first defended the
campaign: “The advertisement in question is based purely upon a
common insight from within the game of basketball – the athletic
feat of dunking on the opposition."
Spokesman Bob Applegate also underlined
the company's commitment to diversity: “Nike has a strong record of
support for diversity in sport and the workplace, and is proud to
have been honored with a 100 percent score over several consecutive
years in the HRC Foundation's Corporate Equality Index.” Applegate
was referring to the Human Rights Campaign's gay friendly corporate
Portland, Oregon, ad agency
Wieden+Kennedy, which created the ad, posted an entry on their blog
addressing the ad titled “Hypersensitive, Y'all?”
But readers of the blog did not agree.
Many, in fact, said they did find the ad offensive. One reader
commented, “WK studio should be ashamed of itself for running these
Nike said it would remove the ads as
quickly as possible “to underline our ongoing commitment to
supporting diversity in sport and the workplace,” Applegate told
Nike's move comes just hours after
U.S.-based candy company Mars said it would withdrawal a Snickers television
ad in the U.K. deemed offensive by gay rights groups.