Adidas has come under fire for a Twitter promo campaign that inadvertently led to the sportswear company tweeting out racist, anti-Semitic and abusive terms via their Twitter account.
The company ran a campaign to promote its new “Arsenal” shirt, which generated personalized images of the new product with the Twitter usernames of people who liked the promotional tweet.
However, the stunt backfired when several users changed their Twitter handles to include offensive terms and hacked the campaign, causing the Adidas’ UK account to send out images of the shirt with derogatory phrases including the n-word as well as references to the Holocaust.
According to CNN, the offensive tweets have since been deleted, and many of the users have subsequently been suspended by Twitter.
An Adidas spokesperson said, “As part of our partnership launch with Arsenal we have been made aware of the abuse of a Twitter personalization mechanic created to allow excited fans to get their name on the back of the new jersey.”
The statement continued, “Due to a small minority creating offensive versions of this, we have immediately turned off the functionality, and the Twitter team will be investigating.”
Many Twitter users questioned why racist and anti-Semitic handles were able to be created in the first place, some of which appeared to use subtle misspellings to avoid detection.
Twitter has not yet commented on the issue.