Adidas has ended its partnership with Ye, also known as Kanye West, with “immediate effect.”
In a statement Tuesday, the sportswear maker said it “does not tolerate anti-Semitism or any other type of hate speech” and said his recent comments were “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous.” Adidas said it violated the company’s “values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness”.
Sales and production of his Yeezy branded products have been suspended, as have payments to Ye and his company. Adidas said it would take a €250 million ($246 million) hit to fourth-quarter sales.
Adidas has been partnering with West since West pulled the brand away from rival Nike in 2013. In 2016, Adidas expanded its relationship with the rapper, calling it “the most significant partnership ever created between a non-athlete and a sports brand.”
But after he wore a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt in public, Adidas said in early October that it was “considering a partnership.” The Anti-Defamation League has classified the phrase as a “hate slogan” used by white supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan.
Recently, during a rant against Jews on the Drink Champs Podcast, Ye said, “I can say I’m an anti-Semitic s***, but Adidas can’t put me down.” He also threatened on Twitter to “do a Death Con 3 to JEWISH PEOPLE”.
Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said Adidas’ decision was a “very positive outcome”.
“This shows that anti-Semitism is not accepted and has consequences. Without a doubt, Adidas did the right thing by severing ties with Ye after his vicious anti-Semitic rant. I did,” he said in a statement. “Ultimately, Adidas’ actions send a powerful message that anti-Semitism and bigotry should not exist in society.”
Adidas shares fell about 5% in Frankfurt. Adidas said it will release additional information on the financial implications of ending its partnership with Ye in its earnings report due on November 9.
brand cut ties
The list of brands that distance themselves from the West continues to grow. Balenciaga and Vogue officially cut ties last week, and on Monday talent agency CAA removed West from its client list, with production company MRC saying it was shelving a documentary about West.
Last month, the rapper said he was ending his rocky two-year relationship with Gap, citing “substantial violations.” did not distribute their merchandise as planned, stating, “We had no choice but to end their collaboration.”
Ye’s story, not just for Adidas, but for brands like Gap and Balenciaga, underscores the importance of vetting celebrities thoroughly and avoiding those who are overly controversial or insecure.
“There is room for some tension in fashion, but this should not cross the line between decency and basic respect for humanity. If you drive yourself overly reliant on the … business,” he added.
— Jon Sarlin of CNN Business contributed to this report.
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