Puma event criticised for glamorising drug dealing

Guests at sports brand's House of Hustle sent a box filled with fake £50 notes and 'burner' phones.

Credit: Instagram
Credit: Instagram

Sports brand Puma has apologised for an event it held on 5 April called House of Hustle, which is said to have glamorised drug dealing.

Before the consumer event, the 220 guests were sent boxes with fake £50 notes, fake ‘burner’ phones (disposable phones used by drug dealers) and an invitation that used terms ‘trap’ and ‘trapping’ – slang associated with dealing drugs.

The event was held in a warehouse decorated to resemble a drug den with dirty mattresses on the floor, blacked out windows and graffiti on the walls.

A statement from Puma said: "Last week, the Puma House of Hustle set out to celebrate youth culture in line with our ‘Run the streets’ campaign. The campaign is designed to highlight young entrepreneurs who use their skills and talents to build businesses and have an impact on culture, whether it is through making jewellery, music, photography, or other creative pursuits.

"In our invitations to the event, we used the terms ‘trap’ and 'trapping' with the intention of the colloquial interpretation of 'hard work' and 'hustle' in a number of fields. Unfortunately, these words can in some contexts be associated with the illegal drug trade.

"We want to make clear that Puma in no way endorses or intends to glamorise drug culture. We never intended associations with drug usage, drug culture or drug dealing in any way and we regret any misunderstandings in this respect. We apologise for any upset or offence caused in the usage of this language."

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for unusual event themes, after the organisers of the UK Rail Industry Awards apologised for staging a mock terror attack during their awards night at Battersea Evolution.

Companies including Network Rail and Chiltern Railways were so upset by the event that they returned their awards.


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