Breaking: ‘Black at Nike’ Instagram Page Wiped Clean, Nike Denies Involvement

Sheena Butler-Young

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Less than a week after FN first reported on the Instagram account Black at Nike, the page has been wiped clean.

On Wednesday, all posts on the account, which was created last month to compile stories of purported worker experiences at the Swoosh, disappeared. Shortly before the page was wiped clean, its creator warned followers that the account might vanish, citing similar situations at sister Instagram handles, Women at Nike and LGBT at Nike, which also “vanished.”

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Sources have indicated to FN that they suspect Nike is behind the erasure of the various accounts, which shared unfavorable allegations against the brand’s leadership on issues of racial discrimination, diversity and inclusion.

In an email exchange with FN today, a spokesperson for Nike said the company was not involved in the removal of the accounts.

“We have no knowledge of who owns the accounts or why they were taken down,” the spokesperson said.

Last week, FN reported on the existence of the Black at Nike account, which had several thousand followers and a few dozen posts, and served as a testament to the challenges that large global organizations, in particular, face in addressing matters of race and inclusion at all levels.

“I used to work at the Nike Employee Store and my [manager] would call me a different name EVERY SINGLE DAY,” read one post on the Instagram page. “I would always correct him and he would knowingly still do it.”

Another social media user recounted: “From 2015 – 2018 I worked at Nike The Grove. Prior to store opening in the morning we were allowed to play music in the stockroom. One day, a white manager came into the stockroom, laughed and said, ‘You guys are always playing black people music — don’t you listen to anything else? … this manager was reported twice to HR for their racist and insensitive comments. They still work there today.”

On the days following FN’s report, WWD and Business Insider were among the media outlets to also report on the page, as accusations on the account grew increasingly egregious.

WWD, for example, pointed to a “Black at Nike” post made on Tuesday night that alleged that a current Nike vice president, who is a white woman, referred to Serena Williams as “scary to some girls,” during a team meeting several years ago.

“They don’t look up to her because she isn’t beautiful to them,” the post continued. “And that is why they chose to highlight different athletes, during the Rio Games. Those athletes were white with accolades that paled in comparison, which made me think were we celebrating perceived beauty or wins?”

Reached for comment last week, Nike spokesperson Sandra Carreon-John told FN that the company has been working aggressively over the past few years to enhance D&I, as well as overall race relations across all levels of its organization.

Among Nike’s programs, Carreon-John pointed to the “Speak Up” portal, which “offers employees the opportunity to report concerns, ask questions or follow up on issues they’ve raised.” (The website can be used anonymously.) Nike’s “Matter of Respect” policy, she added, explicitly prohibits discrimination, retaliation and harassment in the workplace, and if there are behaviors that violate this, employees can raise the issue with their managers directly, use the Speak Up portal or speak directly with HR or Employee Relations.

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