Athletic apparel giant Nike doubled down on its decision to use transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney in marketing campaigns to promote the company’s female clothing.
In a pinned comment to Nike’s verified Instagram account, the company instructed customers to “Be kind, be inclusive … Encourage each other.”
The response came amid calls for a boycott of the company shortly after Mulvaney, who identifies as female, appeared in paid social media content dancing in Nike women’s sportswear.
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Nike’s logo in Los Angeles April 12, 2016. (REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)
Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies has been one of the athletes leading calls for customers to stop buying Nike’s products.
Davies, who won silver in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, said Nike’s decision represented a “step” back after some sports organizations created protected categories for biological women in competitions.
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“It’s so frustrating. We take two steps forward with World Athletics and Swim England protecting women’s sport and then Nike does this,” Davies told Dan Wootton Tonight on GB News.
“The ad feels like a parody of what women are. In the past, it was always seen as an insult to say ‘run like a girl,’ and here we’ve got someone behaving in a way that’s very unsporty and very unathletic. And it’s so frustrating when only 1% of the USA sponsorship dollar goes to females in sport. That Nike would do this feels like a kick in the teeth.”
The exterior of a Nike store Nov. 30, 2022, in Miami (Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images)
In Friday’s social media response, Nike vowed to remove any comments that were not “in the spirit of a diverse and inclusive community.”
“You are an essential component to the success of your community! We welcome comments that contribute to a positive and constructive discussion: Be kind… Be inclusive… Encourage each other… Hate speech, bullying, or other behaviors that are not in the spirit of a diverse and inclusive community will be deleted,” Nike wrote.
Nike has recently experienced an uptick in overall sales, especially after English soccer star Chloe Kelly showed off Nike gear after scoring a goal in the World Cup.
Chloe Kelly of England celebrates after scoring the team’s second goal during the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium July 31, 2022, in London. (Alex Livesey/UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)
Davies also took issue with the item of clothing Mulvaney wore in the advertisement, pointing out the company’s treatment of other athletes in the past.
“Dylan is advertising sports bras when there’s nothing to put in the sports bra, when actually it’s really important women get proper support when they do sport. It just doesn’t make sense.
“For a long time, Nike sponsored Allyson Felix, one of the world’s most incredible track athletes. Then, when Allyson got pregnant, they reduced her sponsorship by 70% when she had something happen to her that happens only to women. Women are being treated with total disdain at the moment, particularly in the world of sport where physiology makes so much difference.”
Caitlyn Jenner has also been outspoken about Mulvaney’s partnership with Nike.
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Mulvaney has worked as a comedian, has appeared in Broadway plays and has a big social media following. Mulvaney’s compensation for the paid social media posts has not been publicly revealed.