Courtesy of Milled
Vice is reporting that Jason Jessee has been indefinitely suspended from Santa Cruz and Converse amidst a racism controversy that came to light this month. It started when an interview from 1995 with Iron Horse magazine surfaced online in which Jessee uses several racial slurs. There have also been numerous instances in which he has incorporated swastikas into his artwork and worn them on clothing. After numerous callouts via online forums and social media, both NHS and Converse announced via the Vice article that they are severing ties with Jessee.
Santa Cruz Skateboards and everyone at NHS clearly and emphatically denounce racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, white supremacy, and Nazi sympathizers. Anyone suggesting that our company supports or promotes these offensive beliefs is simply wrong.
For decades we have worked to build and run a diverse company that creates opportunity for people and gives second chances. Our employees and team riders are a demonstration of our commitment to diversity and opportunity. If a person shows a willingness to change, we try to help.
A bit of history: Jason was one of NHS’ top pro skaters in the 1980s. We split ways with Jason in the 1990s. During that period he began abusing drugs and this continued through 2008.
Jason came back to NHS when by early 2010 he was committed to his sobriety. He was healthy, sound in mind, body, and spirit. He had changed. We decided to give him a second chance.
However, when NHS recently learned of the Iron Horse Magazine interview in 1994, we immediately called him in and confronted the issue. Jason accepted responsibility and has since issued a public apology. Further, Jason acknowledged he needed to continue to publicly denounce his past statements.
Nonetheless, NHS has decided to indefinitely suspend Jason Jessee.
Converse and the CONS Skate team have zero tolerance for words or actions of hate towards any human being. Not today, not ever. As a brand, a team, and a company, we believe in creating a world that embraces diverse communities, cultures, people of color, and genders with kindness, genuine respect, openness, and inclusion.
We have indefinitely suspended Jason from the Converse CONS team. We are also working to better understand Jason’s past and the work he can do to show respect, compassion, and acceptance for all people, and use his voice to spread a message of openness throughout the skate community.
Head over to Vice to read the entire article.