Racist and anti-Semitic trolls took advantage of a social media promotion by Adidas to get the shoe retailer to tweet hateful messages like “Gas All Jews” and “Die All N——-s.”
As part of its promotion of the new jerseys for the British soccer club Arsenal, Adidas encouraged people to use the hashtag #DareToCreate, and it would tweet back an image of the user’s Twitter handle as the name on the back of an Arsenal shirt.
But the promotion was hijacked by users with hateful handles. “@GasAllJewss This is home. Welcome to the squad,” Adidas tweeted, along with an image of a jersey with the handle on the back and a link to buy their own outfit.
For posterity: pic.twitter.com/wN47qoG0Ai— Walker Bragman (@WalkerBragman) July 2, 2019
Other accounts that took advantage of the campaign included “Madeline McCann,” a British 3-year-old who famously went missing in 2007, and “Innocent Hitler,” according to Metro.
Adidas later deleted the tweets.
“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,” an Adidas spokesperson told the Guardian. “Due to a small minority creating offensive versions of this we have immediately turned off the functionality and the Twitter team will be investigating.”
Arsenal, which is based in north London, has a large Jewish fanbase and has seen its players and fans targeted with anti-Semitic abuse — though some Arsenal fans themselves has periodically engaged in anti-Semitic behavior at games and online.