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New Balance Distances Itself from $500K Donation by Chairman James Davis to Anti-Gay PAC Backing Mitt Romney

In response to revelations late last week that New Balance Chairman James Davis had donated $500,000 to the campaign of NOM-supporter and anti-gay GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, the company has responded with a statement on Facebook.

Davis New Balance Statement on Political Donation
A letter from our CEO:

Dear New Balance associates, customers and consumers:

Earlier this year, a private donation was made by our Chairman to a political action committee that is affiliated with Mitt Romney. First, let me be clear that this was a private donation and not a contribution from New Balance. We encourage civic engagement at all levels and will always respect the right of any of our associates to engage in the political process as they see fit. We typically do not comment on private political donations; however, this situation is different.

Mr. Romney recently signed a pledge that challenges same sex marriage and that has offended many including those in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Mr. Romney’s position on this issue is not reflective of Jim Davis’, my or New Balance’s position and support of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered community. As a company, New Balance embraces the differences in all people and we work tirelessly to create and sustain an environment where everyone – our associates, consumers, customers and guests – are treated with dignity and respect.

Sincerely,

Rob DeMartini
President/CEO

Here's the pledge they're referring to, if you missed it last week.

Change.org had demanded answers from the company. Is this sufficient?

(image source)

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Comments

  1. Everyone who gives money to a candidate or cause uses the money they earn from their employment, and companies shouldn't dictate what their employees, including the CEO or Chairman, does with their money. It is just plain wrong to tell people they don't have free speech rights. However, if someone is the owner--and I mean the only substantial owner, not someone who owns a chunk of the company--then I would boycott their products.

    Posted by: Clem | Aug 10, 2011 10:53:47 AM


  2. Even if DiMartini is sincere and NB strives to be inclusive and they do not endorse anti-gay politic, it doesn't change the fact that when I pay money for their shoes, Davis will inevitably get a cut of that money.

    Regardless of whether it is his private donation (which is well within his rights, and I would never forbid him from exercising his right to political choice), it only means that I do not want to fund a financial supporter of anti-gay politicians in any way, if I can help it. And in this case, it means not putting my money into the company where he derives his private income.

    Sorry NB, but Davis screwed the pooch for you.

    Posted by: luminum | Aug 10, 2011 10:56:33 AM


  3. People keep getting upset that businesses and business leaders make donations to pro-business candidates. Unfortunately, most pro-gay candidates are NOT seen as pro-business; if they were, maybe there would be more donations by companies to those people instead.

    "Do I support the candidate who supports this company, or do I support the candidate who wants our workers to unionize against us (costing us more money), and wants to impose even stronger regulations on my company (while not imposing those same regulations on smaller businesses, making us lose our competitive edge)?" Not a difficult question at all. They will, and SHOULD, support the candidate who benefits their company the most.

    Posted by: David Henderson | Aug 10, 2011 11:01:04 AM


  4. Well, I guess it's back to Reeboks for me.

    Posted by: Keith | Aug 10, 2011 11:02:21 AM


  5. What cracks me up is that if the tide started to turn and they found out that they could make a ton of money by hating us, you can bet they'd be singing a different tune. All of their deeply held beliefs about equality would fly out the window. It's all about money and protecting their bottom line.

    Posted by: AJ | Aug 10, 2011 11:04:16 AM


  6. A CEO who supported the Klan would render any company radioactive. How is this different?

    Given that our corporations have acquired more rights under law than we ourselves are entitled to, it hardly seems unfair to hold them to a higher standard.

    If we judge them by the company they keep (and we should), New Balance is a corporate bigot which seeks to create second class citizens in violation of the US Constitution.

    Boycott and expose them.

    Posted by: Bryan | Aug 10, 2011 11:13:57 AM


  7. Damn it to hell, now I have to stop buying New Balance shoes??? I really, really, really don't want to, but I have bought my last pair. Thanks for nothing, New Balance!

    Posted by: justme | Aug 10, 2011 11:34:16 AM


  8. @David Henderson: You're absolutely right. Donations to Republican politicians are often not about gays, as seems to be the case here.

    Gays, stop hyperventilating, this is not about you.

    Posted by: AG | Aug 10, 2011 11:38:08 AM


  9. I've bought my last pair of New Balance shoes. Bye-bye NB!

    Posted by: RWG | Aug 10, 2011 11:39:41 AM


  10. I appreciate that New Balance has sent out paid PR shilss to this comment section, but all the shilling in the world doesn't change reality:

    Mitt Romney chose to make himself an enemy of humanity and fight specifically for my elimination from the human race.

    James Davis made a donation to Romney that is far in excess of -- dare I say -- everyone's annual salary here, in some cases many, many times over.

    Any money I give New Balance allows James Davis to donate money to people who want to see me dead.

    Therefore: New Balance gets no more money from me.

    This will change when James Davis is no longer with the company and not a moment before.

    Happy shilling, scum!

    Posted by: ohplease | Aug 10, 2011 11:44:08 AM


  11. A CEO who supported the Klan would render any company radioactive. How is this different?
    *******

    Well, maybe because outside of fever swamps of left-wing web sites people don't think that a mainstream Republican from Massachusetts in any way or form resembles the Klan. He beats Obama in the polls.

    Posted by: AG | Aug 10, 2011 11:45:05 AM


  12. I will continue to buy New Balance. Their statement is enough for me. I can't wear any other athletic shoes because of sizing issues anyway. But, where does it end? Don't buy Pizza from Domino's(Nasty), don't buy Nike, don't use Verizon for phone service, really? so what happens when we can't purchase any goods from any companies?

    Posted by: TonkaManOR | Aug 10, 2011 11:47:25 AM


  13. Mitt Romney chose to make himself an enemy of humanity and fight specifically for my elimination from the human race.
    **********

    And I thought the Klan comparison was the silliest thing in this thread.

    Posted by: AG | Aug 10, 2011 11:47:47 AM


  14. In another perspective, what if it was the KKK to whom he donated his money? He would be fired. He is not fired, ergo, company doesn't care that much about us. We should make them care.

    Posted by: Stephen | Aug 10, 2011 12:01:32 PM


  15. New Balance has since deleted this so-called "apology" from it's Facebook page, along with all the responses and posts questioning their hypocrisy. My 992's go in the trash tonight and I will NEVER buy anything else from NB.

    Posted by: Ian | Aug 10, 2011 12:16:28 PM


  16. New Balance also owns PF Flyers. New Balance also has several licensees, including Moretz Sports, Eyewear Designs Ltd., Fitness Quest Inc., Franco
    Apparel Group, Packworks, and Hickory Brands.
    Write them and tell them you will not support their brands. go to newbalance.com

    Posted by: Chris | Aug 10, 2011 12:33:26 PM


  17. I think it's sufficient. Davis may own the company, but he has every right to spend his money as he sees fit just as it's our right to be displeased and hold him to account. In all honesty though, if we held all corporations responsible for the political contributions of their generally conservative management teams there would be very few goods and services for us to buy.

    Posted by: mike | Aug 10, 2011 12:53:24 PM


  18. How much money does New Balance and it's CEO's and the Chairman donate to worthy causes? Doe's that money not count?

    Posted by: Fenrox | Aug 10, 2011 12:58:10 PM


  19. Nooooooooooo!!!! This is such a shame to read. I've been running in NB for years... Fantastic quality shoes. Now I have to find a new brand or feel guilty whenever I wear them. :(

    Posted by: Michael | Aug 10, 2011 12:59:37 PM


  20. Rob DeMartini runs New Balance. Jim Davis and his wife own this privately owned company. His private donation was made from the profits he made from his privately owned company.

    Posted by: Jessica Naomi | Aug 10, 2011 1:10:56 PM


  21. @ AG...you know what? it is about the gays..for me..always..also, its clear that your smart, ok? so stop picking on people that make comments you don't agree with. Your snarky tude makes you seem stunted and a bore.

    Posted by: Jotto | Aug 10, 2011 1:14:06 PM


  22. Luke's Locker, in the heart of the Oak Lawn area of Dallas, is where I bought my last NB shoes. No longer. Bill is spot on...


    'While your chairman is certainly welcome to support whatever candidates and issues he pleases, I am also welcome to spend my dollars with companies whose leaders are not trying to legislate me out of existence.'

    Posted by: datlaw214 | Aug 10, 2011 1:32:51 PM


  23. New Balance Chairman Jim Davis ([email protected]) OWNS this company with his wife. It he wants to show that New Balance actually is committed to dignity and respect for LGBTers, he will condemn Romney for signing NOM's pledge, and request that Romney return his $500K donation.

    Posted by: Scott Rose | Aug 10, 2011 2:17:55 PM


  24. You shouldn't donate to hate and then expect everyone to excuse you. It may be a financial issue rather than a anti-gay one, but Romney is still both. And with such a large donation, he should have some sway w Romney if he's really so gay-friendly.

    Posted by: David R. | Aug 10, 2011 3:42:15 PM


  25. New Balance shoes are made in America (Kodiak asked about this above).

    The chairman made a donation from his private funds. The company itself did not make the donation. This IS an important distinction. The company does include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination policy. Perhaps a top executive agrees with certain positions held by a Republican candidate and which you find abhorrent. But the chairman didn't say he made the donation based on Romney's opposition to gay marriage.

    Be careful about jumping to conclusions. It only took a couple minutes to find out New Balance has policy protecting gay employees. And that they make their shoes in the US has been part of their marketing campaign for years.

    Posted by: TJ | Aug 10, 2011 7:50:48 PM


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