Adidas ends massive Kanye West deal after anti-Semitism controversy


Adidas has severed ties with the musician and fashion designer Ye, formerly of Kanye West, marking the end of a partnership that has netted the company billions of dollars over the artist’s repeated outrageous anti-Semitism and offense worsened by sexual remarks.

The Germany-based sports gear maker avoided commenting on the status of the partnership for weeks Breaking its silence on Tuesday, it said in a statement: “Following a thorough review, the company has decided to immediately terminate its partnership with Ye, cease production of Yeezy branded products, and cease all payments to Ye and his company. Adidas will immediately stop Adidas Yeezy business.”

The statement added that Adidas “does not tolerate anti-Semitism and any other type of hate speech. Mr. Ye’s recent remarks and actions are unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate corporate diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness. values.”

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Adidas ended its relationship with Ye along with other companies including JPMorgan Chase and Balenciaga.

The move comes just weeks after an Adidas executive announced the company was reviewing its business deal with Ye and its multibillion-dollar Yeezy brand after wearing a “WHITE LIVES MATTER” at the Paris Fashion Week show T-shirts, causing widespread outrage. Over the next few days, Ye made anti-Semitic remarks on his Instagram and Twitter — sparking a suspension — and continued his diatribe on a podcast, where he doubled down on anti-Semitic tropes. In the same interview, he also lied about the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by Minneapolis police, who was injected with fentanyl. Floyd’s family is considering legal action against Ye.

Morningstar analyst David Swartz said Yeezy had a significant impact on Adidas, with Yeezy generating an estimated $2 billion in annual revenue, nearly 10 percent of the company’s annual revenue.

Given the high seasonality in the fourth quarter, the termination of the relationship “is expected to have a short-term negative impact of up to 250 million euros on the company’s net income in 2022,” the company said in a statement.

A 24-time Grammy winner and many acclaimed platinum releases, Mr. Ye started working with Adidas in cooperation Made Ye a billionaire and gave Adidas a new customer base.

Ye began expressing his displeasure with Adidas this summer when he falsely accused the company of stealing his designs and named CEO Casper Rosted in a tweet. He went after the company again in early October, posting a 30-minute online video of a meeting with Adidas executives whom he accused of “doing the wrong thing with the company, the business and its partners.” Ye also showed executives a pornographic movie.

Ye appeared on the podcast Drink Champs, ranting about Jews for 10 minutes and calling on Adidas to delay ending the partnership.

“About Adidas – I can say anti-Semitic stuff, Adidas can’t give up on me. What to do? What to do?”

Those rants pose a particularly sensitive challenge to Adidas given the company’s history. Its founder, Adolf Dassler, was a Nazi party member and equipped the Hitler Youth.

Jewish groups condemned Ye and called on Adidas to end its partnership with Yeezy.

“At a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise, and when events in the U.S. reach an all-time high in 2021, such rhetoric aren’t just damning — they’re dangerous,” said Jonathan A. Anti-Defamation CEO and Country Director. Jonathan A. Greenblatt writes about the league.

In October, the pressure on Adidas was mounting. On January 23, members of a hate group hung signs along a major highway in Los Angeles that read “If you know Kanye is right about the Jews, then honk the horn.” Photos showing the men doing the Nazi salute went viral, prompting celebrities to call on Adidas to cut ties with Ye.

“@ADIDAS DROP KANYE WEST,” actor-director America Ferrera posted on Instagram, “This is vile. Don’t magnify that person.”

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