By Taylor Burgess — October 25, 2022
Adidas had terminated its partnership with Kanye West, effective immediately.
On Tuesday, the sportswear maker finally weighed in on the Kanye West controversy saying it “does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech” and added his recent comments were “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous.” Adidas said his comments violated the company’s “values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”
Sales and production of the rappers branded products have ceased as well as payments to West and his companies. Adidas admitted it will take a huge $246 million hit to its fourth quarter sales.
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Adidas began its partnership with West back in 2013, when the company signed Kanye’s brand away from rival Nike. Adidas expanded its partnership with the emcee in 2016, calling it “the most significant partnership ever created between a non-athlete and an athletic brand.”
However, the sportswear brand put the “partnership under review” earlier this month after Ye was spotted wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt in public. The Anti-Defamation League put the phrase in the category of a “hate slogan” used by White supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan.
Not long ago, the rapper said “I can say antisemitic s*** and Adidas cannot drop me,” during a tirade against Jews on the Drink Champs Podcast. He also threatened on Twitter to “Go death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.”
The Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said Adidas’ final choice is a “very positive outcome.”
“It illustrates that antisemitism is unacceptable and creates consequences. Without a doubt, Adidas has done the right thing by cutting ties with Ye after his vicious antisemitic rants,” he said in a statement. “In the end, Adidas’ action sends a powerful message that antisemitism and bigotry have no place in society.”
Stock shares of Adidas dropped about 5% in Frankfurt, Germany. Adidas revealed it will disclose additional details about the financial implications of terminating its partnership with Kanye in its upcoming earnings report on November 9.
Other brands are also beginning to distance themselves from Ye after his comments on Drink Champs. Last week, Balenciaga and Vogue publicly ended their relationships with the rapper, and on Monday, CAA, a talent agency dropped Kanye as a client. Production company MRC said that it’s shelving a documentary on Ye.
In September, Kanye said he was terminating his two-year relationship with the Gap, citing “substantial noncompliance.” Ye said he had “no choice but to terminate their collaboration,” claiming the company didn’t open branded Yeezy retail stores and distribute his merchandise as planned, his attorney said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData wrote in a note, “the saga of Kanye, not just with Adidas but with brands like Gap and Balenciaga, underlines the importance of vetting celebrities thoroughly and avoiding those who are overly controversial or unstable.”
Saunders added, “Although there is room for some tension in fashion, this must never cross the line of decency and basic respect for humanity. Companies or brands that fail to heed this will get stung, especially if they become overly reliant on a difficult personality to drive their business.”
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