Adidas says it is time to "own up to its silence" and address issues within the company instead of simply denouncing racism on social media. The company has pledged to step up its hiring of minorities and invest $120 million in black communities over the next four years, CBS reports. "For most of you, this message is too little, too late," the company tweeted Wednesday. "We’ve celebrated athletes and artists in the Black community and used their image to define ourselves culturally as a brand, but missed the message in reflecting such little representation within our walls." Adidas said it also plans to fund 50 scholarships for black students annually.
The move follows years of complaints from employees that the company has very few people of color in leadership roles in the US and at its German headquarters, the Wall Street Journal reports. Last week, a group of black employees urged the firm to increase black and Latino representation at all levels to 31% by the end of next year. "My existence at this brand is praised as diversity and inclusion, but when I look around, I see no one above or around that looks like me," designer Julia Bond told the company, per Footwear News. The AP reports that other companies, including Microsoft and Amazon, have been called out for pledging support for racial equality but failing to promote black employees. (Read more Adidas stories.)