Adidas has banned the word ‘gay’ from its customizable trainers available online.
On the online entry system, the global sports brand also bans the words ‘lesbian’, ‘bisexual’, ‘trans’ and ‘homophobia’.
But it does ban the word ‘straight’ to be entered into the ‘personalise name’ entry box.
Out Olympian and diving star Tom Daley, who last year revealed he was in a relationship with a man, has recently been announced as the face of an Adidas UK campaign.
A spokesperson for Adidas told Gay Star News the ‘gay’ ban was not ‘representative of their policy’.
They said: ‘The word restrictions built into our miadidas ordering system are unfortunately driven by the need to prevent a small minority of people from abusing the system and therefore we restrict the usage of certain terms based on those terms most likely to be mis-used.
‘This policy is by no means representative of our brand policy on gay rights and is instead designed as a means of providing more automated control when dealing with a system that sadly gets abused by a small minority of consumers.’
The spokesperson explained it was not their intention to bracket words such as ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ into the bad words column, but as it is a largely automated system the fear would be if the word ‘gay(s)’ could be easily pre-fixed by ‘I hate’ and they would find themselves in an equally difficult situation.
The word “hate” is definitely closely monitored as well, but is not on the banned list of words,’ they said.
‘We are regularly reviewing, updating and optimizing our settings to further improve the user experience and that we appreciate consumer feedback.
‘We take these things very seriously and I will ensure that this is passed on to the relevant teams in Global who will in review what changes need to be made.’
The search restrictions also prevent offensive words such as ‘faggot’ from being entered.
It follows the outrage after Sochi Winter Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola’s ‘Share A Coke’ promotion in South Africa.
It did not allow the word ‘gay’ to be entered on personalized cans while allowing the word ‘straight’.
Coca-Cola issued an apology for any offence caused and took down the site, saying they were sorry for the ‘unintended outcome’.