Sep 2, 2020
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Adidas' global creative director Paul Gaudio exits company

Sep 2, 2020

Adidas global creative director Paul Gaudio has left the company after posting a controversial comment online. 

Paul Gaudio - Adidas

Gaudio has worked with Adidas for over six years, and has served as the company's global creative director since 2014. 

According to multiple reports, Gaudio exited the athleticwear company on August 31. His departure came just two days after the former Adidas exec commented under an image of 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse -- who has been accused of shooting and killing two people during protests in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin -- posted on Instagram by Complex. In his comment, Gaudio referred to Rittenhouse as "also a victim." 

“He is also a victim here," Gaudio wrote, using his Instagram account @neckbelly. "He’s a kid, who raised him? Who taught him? Who gave him a gun? Not excusing him by any means… but the adults who radicalized him and enabled him should be punished."

In response to an inquiry from Complex, Adidas provided the following statement regarding Gaudio's exit: 

"We are very grateful for his contributions over his long tenure, including the last six years as our global creative director," the statement said.

"Paul's creative vision, deep understanding of consumer trends, and passion for breaking down the barriers between sports and the arts has played an important role in building our brand."

The company did not directly connect Gaudio's online commentary to his leave.

In support of Jacob Blake -- who was shot seven times by police in front of his children, but survived with severe injuries -- many members of the professional athletic world, including the Milwaukee Bucks, the New York Mets and the Miami Marlins, have boycotted or postponed games in protest and solidarity. Earlier this week, Adidas made a post on Instagram in support of these protests.

"We support all players and coaches across sport who are using their platforms to demand justice," the post read. "Black Lives Matter." 

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