Just after the first live round was used in the on-going Hong Kong protests, yet another scandal relating to the movement has taken place.

This time the issue lies at the feet of Vans, with the reason being due to the pulling of a pro-Hong Kong design out of its recent competition. Specifically, a Canada-based artist named “Naomiso” entered Vans’ annual Global Custom Culture shoe contest with a design that was inspired by the protests that are currently taking place in Hong Kong.

After the voting box opened on the first of October, Naomiso’s design quickly gained popularity, consequently drawing in the most votes by far. However, shortly after the design took the number one spot, Vans removed the entry giving the following statement to explain why: “As a brand that is open to everyone, we have never taken a political position and therefore review designs to ensure they are in line with our company’s long-held values of respect and tolerance.”

However, this news was not taken well, in fact, the backlash has been brewing and considerably so from those in Hong Kong. The controversial move has consequently seen a “boycottVans” hashtag appear online, with its momentum growing fast.

Many are angry at Vans as they see this as a way for the brand to keep its relationship with Chinese manufacturers intact. However, not only does this undermine the battle for democracy that Hong Kong is in, but it also means that Naomiso will miss out on $25,000 of prize money, and his design will not be added to this year’s Vans production line.

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