An Endorsement Nike Didn't Want

The recent mass suicide of Heaven’s Gate cult members has brought some unwanted attention to athletic shoe and apparel maker Nike.

The 39 victims all wore identical Nike sneakers, visible in news footage of the grim scene.

Nike officials are hoping that interest in the cult will eventually wane and that late-night talk show hosts and comedians will give it a rest.

There is no sign of that yet. The April 12 broadcast of NBC’s Saturday Night Live included a fake commercial that used news footage of the dead cult members in their Nikes. The tag: ‘Keds. Worn by level-headed Christians.’

Nike dismissed the skit last week. ‘We’ve heard all the jokes,’ said Jim Small, a company representative. ‘The Heaven’s Gate incident was a tragedy. It had nothing to do with Nike.’

Keds executives declined comment.

NBC representative Daniel Ferguson said: ‘We have not had any feedback, positive or negative, from viewers, affiliates or advertisers regarding the parody.’

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