Adidas ends partnership with Ye over antisemitic remarks

25 October 2022

Adidas has ended its partnership with the rapper formerly known as Kanye West over his offensive and antisemitic remarks, the latest company to cut ties with Ye and a decision that the German sportwear company said would hit its bottom line.

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. “Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”

The company faced pressure to cut ties with Ye, with celebrities and others on social media urging Adidas to act. It said at the beginning of the month that it was placing its lucrative sneaker deal with the rapper under review.

Adidas said Tuesday that it conducted a “thorough review” and would immediately stop production of its line of Yeezy products and stop payments to Ye and his companies. The sportswear company said it was expected to take a hit of up to 250 million euros ($246 million) to its net income this year from the move. The company is the sole owner of the design rights to Yeezy, Adidas said.

Adidas’ deal with West started in 2016, with the company the time calling it “the most significant partnership ever created between an athletic brand and a non-athlete.” 

Other companies drop Ye

Adidas is just the latest company to end connections with Ye, who also has been suspended from Twitter and Instagram over antisemitic posts that the social networks said violated their policies. 

Earlier this month, Ye tweeted a threat that he would go “death [sic] con 3” on Jewish people, alluding to a defense readiness designation used by the U.S. military. He also posted a screenshot of a text exchange with Sean “Diddy” Combs in which he suggested Combs was being controlled by Jews.

West recently suggested slavery was a choice and called the COVID-19 vaccine the “mark of the beast,” among other controversial comments. He was also criticized for wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt to his Yeezy collection show in Paris. The phrase has been adopted and promoted by white supremacist groups and sympathizers, according to the Anti-Defamation League. 

Ye’s talent agency, CAA, dropped him, and the MRC studio announced Monday that it is shelving a complete documentary about him. Ari Emmanuel, CEO of talent firm Endeavor, last week penned an op-ed in the Financial Times urging all enterprises to stop working with Ye over his antisemitism

The Balenciaga fashion house cut ties with Ye last week, according to Women’s Wear Daily. JPMorganChase and Ye have ended their business relationship, although the banking breakup was in the works even before Ye’s antisemitic comments.

“Although Adidas was somewhat late in cutting ties with Kanye West, it has now yielded to the inevitable and ended its partnership with the artist,” Neil Saunders, managing director of market research firm GlobalData, said in an email. “Given the baseness of Ye’s recent comments, and the fact his words are now stirring up antisemitism among others, Adidas had no choice but to act in order to protect its reputation and show customers it is on the right side of morality.”

In recent weeks, Ye has also ended his company’s association with Gap and has told Bloomberg that he plans to cut ties with his corporate suppliers.

After he was suspended from Twitter and Facebook, Ye agreed to buy conservative social network Parler.

Demonstrators on a Los Angeles overpass Saturday unfurled a banner praising Ye’s antisemitic comments, prompting an outcry on social media as celebrities and others said they stand with Jewish people.

In 2021, Bloomberg ranked West as the wealthiest Black American, pegging his net worth at $6 billion. Morningstar analyst David Swartz told the Washington Post that Yeezy product sales generated roughly $2 billion a year for Adidas, or nearly 10% of its annual revenue.

Adidas shares fell more than 4% in trading on Tuesday and are down 61% this year. 

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Author: CBS Minnesota

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