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Burton CEO Defends Controversial Boards


Published October 23, 2008 at 7:16 a.m.

The Free Press reports this morning on a statement from Burton CEO Laurent Potdevin.

In a statement released to The Burlington Free Press on Wednesday night, Burton CEO Laurent Potdevin had a message for his company’s detractors — Burton stands behind its products and has no plans to recall the Love and Primo models that have caused anger in portions of the community.

“We will keep these boards in the market and have no intention of recalling them,” Potdevin wrote.

Read the rest here.

Critics have organized a protest at noon today at the Burton HQ.

Here's the text of Potdevin's statement:
As a result of the opinions of an isolated group of individuals, we want to clarify where Burton stands on our board graphic artwork. We respect everyone's right to his or her own opinion, and we also respect the right to protest. That said, here is our position: Burton supports freedom of artistic expression. Board graphics are artwork, and art can be offensive to some and inspiring to others. Snowboarding is a sport and a lifestyle where boundaries are pushed in terms of artwork, similar to the world of music, video games and movies. From Lange ski boot ads since the 1970's featuring barely clothed women, to the Burton Love series, winter sports have a long history of tongue-in-cheek graphics and advertising. Our product development process is driven by riders, and when some of our pro riders asked for these graphics, we backed them. Burton is a global company, and these boards have been embraced and are a success around the world. We are not breaking any laws by creating these boards, and it is our sincere belief that these graphics do not condone or encourage violence towards women in any way.  Burton's support of women, from entry level employees here in Burlington to our team riders on Olympic podiums, is unparalleled.  We, as a company, are immensely proud of our record here. We will keep these boards in the market and have no intention of recalling them.