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Nike Called Out for Appropriating LGBTQ Culture for Profit

Date: June 04 2018

By: Boon Mark Souphanh

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Ahead of the release of their LGBTQ-themed Be True 2018 collection, Nike has been called out on Twitter by advocacy group AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) over Nike's use of the pink triangle.

According to Time magazine: 'The brightly coloured symbol is now often worn proudly, but it was born from a dark period in LGBTQ history and world history. Just as the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear a yellow Star of David, they forced people they labeled as gay to wear inverted pink triangles.'

As mentioned in Nike’s Be True press release: ‘the triangle was reclaimed in the 1970s by pro-gay activists and was later adopted by ACT UP in [its] memorable 1980s-era ‘Silence = Death’ campaign.’

Despite the brand’s acknowledgement, ACT UP have their own opinions regarding Be True’s agenda.

‘Hey [Nike], we love that you’re moved by our work. How about donating the proceeds to current work we continue to do?’ ACT UP Tweeted.

Jason Rosenberg, one of ACT UP’s co-facilitators, also shared his views.

‘This is why the queer community has a murky relationship with corps,’ he tweeted. ‘They appropriate our messaging for profit… We deserve better [than] to have our work be exploited by corporations that profiteer off grassroots resistance imagery.’

Nike responded shortly after, indicating that they’d like to create a dialogue.

The callout comes amid months of controversy surrounding Nike’s workplace culture and their treatment of women and minorities

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