Media watchdog crashes Adidas meeting in Olympics protest

Media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said it has gatecrashed the annual meeting of sportswear giant Adidas, to protest their sponsorship of the Beijing Olympics.

Vincent Brossel, the head of the RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk, called on the company to sign up to a charter of responsibility the group had drafted, according to a statement from the group released on Thursday.

Company executives should consider the implications of its brand being linked with human rights violations in China, he said. Adidas chief executive Herbert Hainer said he took human rights very seriously, according to the text of his speech at the meeting in Fürth, central Germany.

He nevertheless criticized human rights organizations as “moralists who just emit rhetoric.”

RSF bought shares in the company to give it the right to attend the meeting as shareholders.

The Paris-based group used the same tactic in order to attend the annual general meeting of Coca-Cola last month in the United States. The company is also sponsoring this summer’s Olympics.