Adidas ends partnership with Kanye West over anti-Semitic comments
Adidas has ended its partnership with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, for his offensive and anti-Semitic remarks, the latest company to cut ties with Ye and a decision which, according to the German clothing company of sport, would affect its results.
“Adidas does not tolerate anti-Semitism and any other type 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 has faced pressure to cut ties with Ye, celebrities and others on social media urging Adidas to take action. He said earlier this month that he was placing his lucrative sneaker contract with the rapper under review.
Last company to cut connections
Adidas said Tuesday it had conducted a “thorough review” and would immediately halt production of its Yeezy product line and halt payments to Ye and his companies. The sportswear company said it is expected to suffer a drop of up to 250 million euros (C$338.5 million) in net profit this year as a result of the move.
The move by Adidas, whose CEO Kasper Rorsted is stepping down next year, comes after Ye was suspended from Twitter and Instagram this month for anti-Semitic posts that social media said violated their policies .
He recently suggested that slavery was a choice and called the COVID-19 vaccine a “mark of the beast”, among other comments. He was also criticized for wearing a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt during his Yeezy collection show in Paris.
Dropped by his agent
Ye’s talent agency, CAA, dropped him, and studio MRC announced on Monday that it was shelving a full documentary about him.
Fashion house Balenciaga cut ties with Ye last week, according to Women’s Wear Daily. JPMorganChase and Ye ended their business relationship, even though the bank run was underway even before Ye’s anti-Semitic comments.
In recent weeks, Ye also ended his company’s association with Gap and told Bloomberg that he planned to cut ties with his suppliers.
After being suspended from Twitter and Facebook, Ye offered to buy conservative social network Parler.
The rapper, who has won 24 Grammy Awards, has earned a reputation less for his music than for stirring up controversy since 2016, when he was hospitalized in Los Angeles due to what his team called stress and exhaustion. It was later revealed that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Jewish groups have highlighted the danger of the rapper’s comments at a time of rising anti-Semitism. Such incidents in the United States hit an all-time high last year, the Anti-Defamation League said in a letter to Adidas last week urging it to break with Ye.
On Saturday, protesters on a Los Angeles overpass unfurled a banner praising Ye’s anti-Semitic remarks, sparking uproar on social media as celebrities and others said they supported the Jewish people.
Jewish groups hailed Adidas’ move but said the step was overdue. The World Jewish Congress noted that during World War II, Adidas factories “produced supplies and weapons for the Nazi regime, using slave labor”.
In Germany, where Adidas is headquartered, the head of the country’s main Jewish group hailed the company’s decision but said “the step is behind schedule”.
“I would have liked a clear position earlier from a German company that was also linked to the Nazi regime,” Josef Schuster, chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement. “Adidas has done a lot to distance itself from its past and, like many sports brands, is one of those companies that runs big campaigns against anti-Semitism and racism. That’s why an earlier split with Kanye West would have been appropriate.”
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