Is there a better representative for how the world is than Nike? Here is a huge korporation that celebrates its own created aura of victory and success, showing a score of amazingly successful athletes endorsing their products. And yet, the image is a fraud, built upon the cruel and ruthless exploitation of Third World labor, mainly of children. If the mythology of the Nike Corporation gives one a sense of deja vu, it's because it mirrors the ideology and imagery used in the promotion of the American Century, a false glorification of the USA as a defender of liberty as it has helped entrap most of the Third World into vicious dictatorships. Well, one thing is for sure: you can't accuse Mr. Knight of following an unsuccessful model.
Since Phil Knight was name BOTM in June of 1997, Nike hasn't had the best public relations, and their stock has nose-dived as their image has become tarnished. That's the good news: the bad news is Nike is still the biggest and most successful shoe company, Phil Knight is still one of the wealthiest men in the country, and, most important, Nike is still using abusive labor practices in Vietnam and Indonesia. Maybe that will change, if more people begin boycotting Nike products and if this story doesn't die.
The Big One chronicles a tour I took across America to try and meet CEOs and ask them a few questions. It has already won the Best Documentary award at two film festivals and it won the "people prize" recently at the Berlin Film Festival. It was shot in the same spirit as "Roger & Me" and I'm very happy that a wide audience will be able to see it.
There's a forum page located on this site to post your thoughts. You can also e-mail me directly. Don't forget to join Mike's Militia, already 40,000 strong!
Take a look at www.miramax.com as well.
Write to Michael Moore...
P.O. Box 831, Radio City Station
New York, NY 10101
Electronic mail MMFlint@aol.com
Dog Eat Dog Films, Inc.
I think Nike's CEO Phil Knight regrets he said the things he said when I interviewed him last year at his Portland headquarters. However, instead of apologizing to American workers for saying 'Americans don't want to make shoes'; instead of apologizing to the children of Indonesia for saying he saw nothing wrong with 14-year-olds working in his factories; instead of apologizing to the Indonesian people for insulting them by calling them 'the poor little Indonesian workers'; instead of apologizing to his shareholders for admitting on camera he had never once stepped inside his Indonesian factories, Knight has chosen to create a red herring and lash out at a person who simply turned on the camera when Phil began to speak.
After the film was completed, I was invited to a breakfast in New York with Nike's P.R. person and he said 'What do we have to do to get a couple of lines removed from the film?" I wasn't quite clear what he meant. Was this a cash offering? Were they offering me shoes for life? I didn't want to know. I said, 'Look, I'm not removing anything, but if you want I'll happily add one final scene: Nike breaking ground for a new factory or warehouse in Flint that will employ 500 people at a livable wage. I haven't heard back. As Nike confirmed to Newsweek (3/30/98).
To learn more about Nike's labor practices, hook into these websites:
This site contains a link to subscribe to a mailing list that gives updates on Nike protests/campaigns around the world.
This is a "web ring" which has links to 98 websites.
This is the "Official" site which provides frequent updates on anti-Nike campaigns.
In the unlikely event that Mr. Knight can no longer fill his duties as Beast of the Year (such as doing something shockingly decent), The Spice Girls are poised to take over the crown. Rest assured the BOTY trophy is in good hands either way, as their banal pop has helped numb the minds of our next generation.
And, provided there is a rash of good deeds comparable to the Klinton Body Kount, former U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Michael Aquino is ready to step in, and here we can very securely say there is absolutely no worry of a change of heart to happen. Aquino may be a little disappointed to be a runner-up in a contest of evil, and perhaps it seems a little unfair to put him second to anyone: but rest assured, Mikey, pound for pound, we still know you're as Beastly as they come.
In any case, we salute you, Phil, Girls, and Mikey. Congratulations, and keep up the great work!!!
Kirby The Konspiracy Boy Says, "I NEED 2 KONFORM!!!"