FAUX PAS: Puma has apologized for using terms that can be associated with the illegal drug trade for invitations to its recent House of Hustle event, held in London’s Soho district on April 5.
The misstep comes at a heightened period of crime in London following a spate of murders in the city.
According to a report in The Guardian, invitees were sent Puma shoe boxes containing fake £50 notes, “burner” phones (a cheap, disposable cellphone often used in drug transactions) and a business card instructing them to “turn on the trapline,” meaning the phone.
Once the phone was turned on, invitees received a message: “Yo G what u sayin today? Pass tru the House of Hustle,” the Guardian said.
“In our invitations to the event, we used the terms ‘trap’ and ‘trapping’ with the intention of the colloquial interpretation of ‘hard work’ and ‘hustle’ in a number of fields,” said Puma in a statement.
“We want to make clear that Puma in no way endorses or intends to glamorize drug culture. We never intended associations with drug usage, drug culture or drug dealing in any way and we regret any misunderstandings in this respect. We apologize for any upset or offense caused in the usage of this language.”
The event location was designed to resemble a “trap house” (a premises for the buying, selling and production of drugs) with graffiti on the walls, dirty mattresses on the floor, and blacked-out windows, according to The Guardian.
Puma for its part described the event, which was linked to its “Run the Streets” campaign, as “an immersive experience celebrating the creative entrepreneurial endeavors of young Londoners, with specific showcases of grassroots practitioners in photography, tattoos, barbering, jewelry and music, across three floors.”
Citing the “DIY spirit of the night,” young Londoners “were invited to experience first-hand the skills of the hustlers through expert-crafted and customized jewelry by Rickardo Antonio ‘The Black Diamond,’ bespoke live inking from the celebrated tattooist Dev Inkz, the finest trims in the industry from Daniel Gobana and personalized portraits from one of the capital’s favorites, Filmawi,” Puma said.