In recent news concerning Burton’s controversial Love and Primo graphics, which feature self-mutilation and nudity, Essex Youth/Crime Prevention Police Officer Linda Carey wrote an article published on Vermont’s Front Porch Forum explaining why Essex CHIPS and Teen Center will be withdrawing as a participating agency from Burton’s CHILL, a learn-to-snowboard program for youth and young adults.
Here is an excerpt from the article:
“This is by no means a question of freedom of speech. It is a question of corporate responsibility. Like it or not, Burton has an enormous impact on youth culture, and in establishing norms within that culture. By
releasing products that normalize and glorify the objectification of women and self-mutilation, they are sending very concerning messages to the large number of youth who consume their products. We find these messages to be particularly concerning and contradictory given Burton’s previous efforts, through programs such as Chill, to instill respect, confidence, and self-esteem in youth. It was a truly unfortunate and careless
As an organization who’s focus is on ‘inspiring youth to make healthy choices’ CHIPS was looking to Chill, as a partner in the effort to support healthy youth, to make a strong public statement addressing the concerns
that these boards have sparked in the community. CHIPS staff have been in touch with Chill throughout the past few weeks, voicing our concern and patiently waiting for them to assess the situation and to take action as an organization. We are extremely disappointed in what little action we saw, and as such are making the decision to withdraw from the Chill program. While we are fully aware that Chill is an independent non-profit agency, they can’t avoid the fact that they receive a great deal of support from, and are thus closely tied, to Burton. By taking such a passive stand, and by letting their action be dictated by their purse strings as opposed to their mission, we feel that our organization, and the youth we serve, would be better served through an alternative program.”
CHIPS will also be actively seeking alternative options for youth programs in the community, and said although many youth are disappointed with the decision, that the situation has “provided a great opportunity for a conversation about issues of corporate responsibility, media/consumer literacy, and the very real issues of objectification/violence against women and self harm, which many youth in our community are confronting first hand.”