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Reebok red over running shoe named after mythical demon

February 19, 1997 GMT

STOUGHTON, Mass. (AP) _ Reebok International Ltd. finds itself having a devil of a time over the name of a running shoe.

The ``Incubus″ shoe has been on the market for about a year as part of Reebok’s J. Street collection.

Reebok now says it is considering how to dump the name following an ABC News report that noted Incubus was the name of a medieval demon who had sex with sleeping women.

Company executives found out about the meanings of the shoe’s name when reporters from ABC News called, Reebok spokeswoman Kate Burnham said today. The network aired a story on the matter on Tuesday.

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``I’m horrified and the company is horrified,″ Burnham said. ``How the name got on the shoe and went forward I do not know. We are a company that has built its business on women’s footwear, so to do anything that’s denigrating to women is not what we’re about.″

She said the company was trying to determine how to pull the shoes from shelves to remove the offensive name, which appears not on the shoe itself but on the box and in advertising.

``What we would like to do is find a way to get the name off the shoe boxes,″ Burnham said.

She said the name was approved despite warnings from the company’s legal department.

The dictionary defines ``incubus″ as an evil spirit which in medieval times was thought to descend upon women and have sex with them. Another definition of the word is simply ``nightmare.″