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"THE BIG ONE" HITS OR: NIKE CITES "INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY"
Published March 27, 1998
Michael Moore unveiled the film Nike "didn't want the world to see" Wednesday night in Portland, OR, as a "packed house" watched the premiere of "The Big One," according to Jeff Manning of the Portland OREGONIAN. Manning wrote that the movie "travels a familiar but entertaining populist path," and that its "climactic" scene shows a "surprisingly chummy meeting" between Moore and Nike CEO Phil Knight last August. During the meeting, Moore "admonishes" Knight for taking most of Nike's manufacturing overseas, and asks him to build a factory in Flint, MI. However, Manning writes that the "tone" of the meeting "is always somewhat genial." Moore, to Knight in the film: "I honestly think you're the good guy. You're not General Motors." After the film's premiere, Moore unveiled his "Just Build It" campaign, asking viewers to write to Nike and ask it to build a factory in Flint (Portland OREGONIAN, 3/26). NIKE'S RESPONSE: Nike issued a statement concerning the film: "In the interest of feeding the viewer what he thinks is funny, Moore leaves out the facts, even facts he acknowledged when he spoke with Phil Knight." On Wednesday, Nike Senior Manager/Communications Vada Manager "acknowledged" that Nike "did want the film changed," and asked Moore "to add that Nike has voluntarily instituted a minimum working age of 16" at its Asian factories. Manager said that Moore "offered to change the film" if Nike would build the Flint factory, and added that the director's unwillingness to add the requested information "speaks to the intellectual dishonesty of the film" (OREGONIAN, 3/26). GLOBAL NOTES: ESPN will examine labor practices in the sneaker industry in an "Outside The Lines" special titled "Made In Vietnam: The American Sneaker Controversy" airing April 2 at 7:30pm ET. The show will include a report on manufacturing policies of U.S. sneaker companies, and a look inside Nike and Reebok factories in Saigon (ESPN)....The global workplace standards of multinational corporations, including Nike and Reebok, are examined by Philip Rozenzweig in today's FINANCIAL TIMES. Rosenzweig: "Instead of reducing the debate to 'good' versus 'bad,' it is more useful to examine how some leading multinationals address this important issue" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 3/27).