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The Trainer Tamer

Updated Thursday, 1st June 2006

Jonah Perretti highlighted Nike's labour practices in Asia and South America

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Email Nike has always heralded the ideals of freedom and self expression. But when Jonah Perretti visited their official Web site, he found a rather different story. Whilst ordering a pair of Nike trainers Jonah took advantage of an offer to customise his shoes with a word of his choice. He chose the word 'sweatshop' to symbolise what he saw as a contradiction between Nike's philosophy and their labour practices in Asia and South America.

Jonah's order was rejected by Nike, their reason being that the word contained "inappropriate slang", even though Perretti found it in Webster's Dictionary. Jonah reordered the trainers using a more 'appropriate' word but asked Nike to include a photograph of the 10 year old Vietnamese girl who made them. Perretti shared his e-mail correspondence with friends and soon it was passed to thousands of people around the world. The press picked it up. Nike sent us a response, and we caught up with Jonah about his experience.



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