Tony Hawk’s life changed after he started working with Activision on the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. Already a big name in the world of skateboarding, partnering with Activision on the skateboarding video game franchise bearing his name elevated him to a household name. Along with this success, Hawk faced scrutiny from those in skating circles–he was labeled a “sellout.”
Hawk recalled these early days in an appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast recently. With the success of the game series, Hawk also got a suite of endorsement deals from gigantic companies such as McDonald’s and Jeep. This only fueled his critics.
“In those days, skating was very much a novelty. In the ’90s, X-Games came into play, and then all of a sudden my name was well-known, not mainstream, but getting there. Then our video game came out, and it was just like, ‘Oh, you’re just a sellout,'” Hawk said. “Because of the video game and the endorsements that followed from that. I was doing stuff for Jeep, for McDonald’s, for Doritos, and they were like, ‘Oh, you’re just a sellout.'”