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MOORE BEGINS HIS "BIG ONE" PR BLITZ; ESPN ON FOREIGN LABOR
Published March 31, 1998
Filmmaker Michael Moore was a guest on the "Late Show" with David Letterman. Wearing a Red Wings cap, Moore discussed Nike's reaction to his film, "The Big One." Moore: "They've been threatening and they're upset." Letterman: "And you ask [Nike Chair Phil Knight] to open a Nike plant in Flint, your hometown, to help the economy there, and if he did that would you then take some stuff out of the interview?" Moore: "No, I still wouldn't do it." But Moore said that if Knight decides to build a factory in Flint before the film's opening on April 10, "Miramax has offered to go in and actually put a little epilogue in at the end of the film, showing Phil with a golden shovel." Letterman: "I believe that the reason people ... take the labor to other countries is that it's less expensive. But I just heard on the radio that a new pair of Air Jordans is a $150 a pair. So how much more expensive could they possibly be?" Moore: "Well, they're paying these kids over there $.40 an hour to work on assembly lines, teenage girls. And there's shoe companies here, like Hush Puppies and New Balance, that make their shoes in this country. Maybe they don't make as much of a profit, but they still make a profit and they employ people" ("Late Show," CBS, 3/30). OUTSIDE THE LINES: Most of ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Thursday examines labor conditions at Nike's and Reebok's subcontracted factories in Vietnam, according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. Nike escorted ESPN's crew at its plant, while Reebok "allowed free access." Host Bob Ley said that adidas would not cooperate. Ley: "[W]e'll raise questions about whether the conditions are safe and whether the workers are getting paid what they were promised to be paid. There are serious questions about the environmental safety of some of the workers." At Nike's plant, Ley saw two incidents of physical contact between supervisors and workers, "which was surprising given that they knew we'd be there" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 3/31).