Adidas has ended its partnership with the rapper formerly known as Kanye West over his offensive and anti-semitic remarks. The German sportswear giant ending what may have been the most significant corporate fashion partnership of the rapper and designer’s career.
For Adidas, working with Ye gave the company a boost of creative cool and credibility that helped attract high-fashion collaborators like Gucci and Balenciaga.
“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
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The company, based in Germany, said it would terminate the partnership immediately, end production of Yeezy-branded products and stop payments to Ye and his companies. The move was expected to subtract up to 250 million euros ($246 million) from the company’s profit this year, it said.
Over the past month, Mr. West tested the boundaries of acceptable behavior even for a noted provocateur like himself. At his YZYSZN9 Paris Fashion Week show, he wore a shirt with the slogan “White Lives Matter,” which the Anti-Defamation League has identified as hate speech and that has been adopted by the white supremacist movement. He made antisemitic remarks on social media and in interviews shortly after, including posting on Twitter that he would go “death con 3 ON JEWISH PEOPLE.”
Human rights campaigners had called out the German firm for its continued silence over comments by West that have made him more and more isolated from the businesses and brands that have made him fabulously wealthy.
“Thousands of signatures, and still no word, @adidas? Your silence is a danger to Jews,” tweeted Anti-Defamation League CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt.
“We can’t let Ye’s #antisemitism become normalized – we all need to demand Adidas #RunAwayFromHate by condemning his racist rhetoric and re-evaluating their partnership.”
The company, whose founders had ties to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, announced several weeks ago that it was reviewing its relationship with West after he reportedly became disgruntled with how the brand was marketing his products.
“After repeated efforts to privately resolve the situation, we have taken the decision to place the partnership under review,” Adidas said in a statement in early October.
West had accused Adidas of arranging marketing events and bringing back older styles without his approval.
He also said the brand had hired staff to work under him and organized a “Yeezy Day” without his involvement.
The New York times