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HERZOGENAURACH – Various outlets from the European textile media today became victims of a hoax, fake press release which bizarrely claimed Adidas had appointed a Cambodian former garment worker as its co-CEO.

Several media outlets also incorrectly claimed Adidas had signed up to the ‘Pay Your Workers’ agreement in what was billed as the most ambitious social and environmental plan ever from a major brand.

Just Style, Ecotextile News, Retail Week and Fashion United were among a number of media outlets to run the bogus press release which Apparel Insider also received but did not run.

Why did we not run it? The reason was that while the press release itself looked extremely authentic, the content of the story seemed outlandish to say the least. Adidas employing a former garment worker and trade union leader as its CEO simply did not add up.

What also was confusing was the suggestion that Adidas had signed up to Pay Your Workers. This made no sense as Pay Your Workers has had Adidas in its sights for months (and there was no evidence on the Pay Your Workers website that this situation had changed).

We contacted Adidas to check if this news was authentic and it was later confirmed that Adidas had been the victim of a hoax.

The hoax press release can be viewed here: adidas – Bjørn Gulden unveils bold plan for adidas AG (adidas-group.eu)

This episode highlights the challenges faced by the modern media in separating fact from fiction. It also serves as a valuable lesson for all journalists in corroborating stories and double-checking with sources if a story looks unusual or seems too strange to be true.


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