A Twitter campaign launched by Adidas UK to promote sales of Arsenal t-shirts was suspended after users started spreading hate-speech taking advantage of the campaign hash-tag #DareToCreate.
Twitter users were initially encouraged to engage the Adidas UK Twitter account in order to get a virtual Arsenal shirt tweeted by Adidas with their usernames at the back. The shirt could then also be bought via a link.
Some users, however, started requesting the shirt to be tweeted using usernames containing hate speech and offensive, anti-Semitic language.
One user requested a shirt from a @GasAllJewss Twitter account resulting with an Arsenal t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan being tweeted from the Adidas UK official account.
"@GasAllJewss This is home. Welcome to the squad. Now it's time to seal the deal – order your new shirt here," said the Adidas UK tweet, next to the hashtag #DareToCreate. Other users tweeted at Adidas with usernames such as “@InnocentHitler” and "@96wasnotenough," a reference to the Hillsborough disaster where 96 people lost their lives during an FA Cup football match in Sheffield in 1989.
An Adidas spokesperson quoted in The Guardian said: “As part of our partnership launch with Arsenal we have been made aware of the abuse of a Twitter personalisation mechanic created to allow excited fans to get their name on the back of the new jersey. Due to a small minority creating offensive versions of this we have immediately turned off the functionality and the Twitter team will be investigating.”
Arsenal also distanced itself from the misuse of the Twitter campaign saying “We totally condemn the use of language of this nature, which has no place in our game or society.”