People are setting their New Balance sneakers on fire because they think the company endorsed Trump

People are burning their New Balance sneakers over a statement about President-elect Donald Trump’s views on trade. 

On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal’s Sarah Germano tweeted the following quote from Matt LeBretton, New Balance’s vice president of public affairs:

In response, some owners of New Balance sneakers turned to social media to express their outrage. Videos showed people throwing shoes in the trash and setting shoes on fire. 

LeBretton later clarified to Buzzfeed that the statement was meant to be taken solely in the context of trade, and with relation to the Trans-Pacific Partnership specifically. He said the company is not interested in “getting involved in the politics of presidential elections.”

The company has publicly opposed the TPP agreement, which would lower tariffs to encourage trade between the US and certain Asian countries, since at least April. New Balance is one of the few US sneaker companies that still makes its sneakers — around 25% at last count, according to the Wall Street Journal — in the US, though the ratio has dwindled as it has ramped up production in China and Vietnam. 

“As the only major company that still makes athletic shoes in the United States, New Balance has a unique perspective on trade in that we want to make more shoes in the United States, not less,” a company spokesperson said in a statement provided to Business Insider on Thursday. “New Balance publicly supported the trade positions of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump prior to election day that focused on American manufacturing job creation and we continue to support them today.”

Nike, which is still by far the world’s largest sportswear maker, makes most of its shoes in Vietnam, according to the Wall Street Journal. The company affirmed its support of the TPP in a statement to Germano on Wednesday:

 

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