The Burton Blog

Taking Ownership and Full Responsibility for Burton's Past: A Letter from Leadership

SNOWBOARDER has made history by publishing the first snowboarding magazine completely dedicated to sharing stories from people of color in our community.

This week, the print version of the magazine is currently arriving in hundreds of snowboard shops in the Americas, including at our own Burton stores.

We want to start by saying we’re deeply grateful to Snowboarder for giving these stories a major media platform, and more than that, we’re grateful to all the contributors who had the courage to speak up. This issue shows that our industry is starting to do the work it is going to take to make our community more inclusive.

The September issue features stories that focus on the incredible work Chill is doing, as well as interviews with many Burton employees and riders, past and present. You’ll also find articles that discuss racist incidents in the snowboarding industry, and Burton is called out multiple times for the part our brand played in these incidents.

In particular, we want to focus on the article by former Special Blend and Forum pro rider Stevie Bell about a 2007 Special Blend marketing campaign featuring Blackface. On behalf of Burton, we take responsibility for this. Even though no one on the current Burton leadership team was personally involved in these incidents, we felt sick and ashamed when we read these articles.

Because we owned these brands when this marketing campaign happened, we own the pain it continues to cause.

There are absolutely no excuses for this happening under our ownership. So we’re not making any. We share Stevie’s sentiments about being grateful that this campaign resurfaced because it is an opportunity for our entire industry to reckon with this painful past, hear stories from people of color and shed light on them.

If we’re doing an honest job with our long-term work around justice, equity, diversity and inclusion, we will continue to hear painful and uncomfortable stories from Burton’s past. We can’t go backwards and undo our part in causing this pain. But we can listen, validate and amplify these stories – the inspiring parts, the heartbreaking parts and everything in between. As the industry leader, we appreciate being held accountable because we want to do the hard work it will take to make positive change. This isn’t lip service – we have a proven track record of taking on long-term, transformational work around women’s leadership and sustainability. So that we can be held accountable, we shared that we’re committed to confronting systemic racism and increasing equity, representation, and inclusion for all people in our sport, our outdoor spaces, and our society.

As long as Burton exists, you can count on us to be a force for progress on and off the mountain.


Donna Carpenter's Signature
Donna Carpenter, Chair of the Board
John Lacy signature
John Lacy, CEO