ThirtyTwo and Gnu have parted ways with Nicolas Müller this week. Both brands seemingly cut ties with the Swiss rider after he took to social media to spew some pretty controversial ‘facts’ and opinions.
Nicolas has been pushing a pretty controversial anti-medicine rhetoric on his social media for quite some time now, so we can only speculate that the tipping point must have been his comments surrounding the death of George Floyd. Neither company has publicly confirmed the reason for the split after making posts to announce the separation.
“Neither company has publicly confirmed the reason for the split after making posts to announce the separation”
The link in Nicolas’ Instagram bio leads you to a Youtube video which claims that George Floyd’s death was a hoax.
Former ThirtyTwo teammate Desiree Melancon, who’s been incredibly vocal over the last few weeks in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, called out Müller via her Instagram story. He then replied with a comment suggesting that we should actually all be worried about, and focusing on, Agenda 2030, which according to the UN website is “The Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.” Which doesn’t sound particularly worrying to us.
In the current political and socio-economic climate, brands are taking steps to distance themselves from divisive comments and opinions.
Where is the line between a professional snowboarder’s personal, if messed up, opinion and where they become a spokesperson for the company? Should there be a line at all when you’re one of the most prolific people in the industry? Nicolas has 123,000 Instagram followers, many of whom are impressionable younger people. Do brands have a responsibility to make a stand when their riders are spouting dangerous vitriol to the masses? We’d argue that they most definitely do.
“We at Whitelines know we’ve our own part to play in fighting discrimination and promoting inclusion and diversity within our world”
Over the last few weeks, the snowboard industry has been incredibly supportive, driven and vocal in their support for the BLM movement. There’s been fundraisers, protests, think tanks for change and solidarity from brands, riders, media and the public.
There is also a growing consensus from the wider outdoor adventure industry surrounding the complicity over discrimination and barriers to entry to these sports and how we can create change. Our partner publication Mpora recently posted articles on Why The Outdoors Has A Race Problem And How We Can Fix It, and How The British Exploring Society Is Making Adventure Open To All.
We at Whitelines know we’ve our own part to play in fighting discrimination and promoting inclusion and diversity within our world.