Adidas Tweets Antisemitic and Racist Messages After Soccer Team's Social Media Stunt Backfires

Adidas has launched an investigation after one of its Twitter accounts inadvertently tweeted a series of anti-Semitic and racist messages when one of its social media campaigns was hijacked.

The sports brand's U.K. branch launched the #DareToCreate campaign on July 1 in conjunction with the release of the new kit for north London soccer team Arsenal.

Twitter users were encouraged to send a tweet using the hashtag, which prompted the Adidas U.K. Twitter account to automatically reply with an image showing Arsenal's new jersey with the user's Twitter name emblazoned on the back, which would then be available to purchase.

However, the autoreply system did not appear to have a fully working filter system, meaning the account still responded to several Twitter users who changed their handle to names such as @InnocentHitler, @DieAllN*****s and @GasAllJewss.

The Adidas U.K. account replied to these accounts with the image of the soccer kit with their offensive names on the back, as well as posting a link where it was available to buy.

"This is home. Welcome to the Squad. Now it's time to seal the deal," the account wrote each time.

After causing a social media storm, Adidas U.K eventually deleted all the offending tweets.

A spokesperson for Adidas told Newsweek: "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.

"Due to a small minority creating offensive versions of this, we have immediately turned off the functionality. We are in contact with Twitter, the innovation provider, to establish the cause and ensure they continue to monitor and action violating content as a matter of urgency."

Speaking to Metro, an Arsenal spokesperson also said: "We totally condemn the use of language of this nature, which has no place in our game or society.

"We work hard as a club to encourage diversity and inclusion through our Arsenal for Everyone programme, launched in 2008 as a celebration of the diversity of the Arsenal family.

"Through a number of initiatives undertaken in the community, inside Emirates Stadium and throughout the club, Arsenal strives to ensure that everyone associated with the club feels an equal sense of belonging."

In 2014, the NFL's New England Patriots had a similar social media disaster when they celebrated reaching a million followers by inviting fans to retweet a message in order to generate an image of the team's jersey with their Twitter handle on the back.

However, one account which the Patriots replied to had the username @IHATEN*****S.

"We apologize for the regrettable tweet that went out from our account. Our filtering system failed & we will be more vigilant in the future," the Patriots later tweeted.

adidas
Motion blur of ball and Adidas boots during the UEFA Champions League match between Arsenal FC and Paris Saint-Germain at Emirates Stadium on November 23, 2016 in London, England. Adidas is investigating after social media users hijacked a campaign to soccer team's Arsenal new kit. Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty
Adidas Tweets Antisemitic and Racist Messages After Soccer Team's Social Media Stunt Backfires | Sports
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