Adidas takes $390m hit to dump Kanye West

Adidas' $390m decision to sever ties with Kanye West

Adidas has ended its partnership with the rapper formerly known as Kanye West over his offensive and antisemitic remarks.

The German sportswear brand is the latest company to cut ties with West, in a decision it said would have a multimillion-dollar effect on its bottom line.

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday (US time).

“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.”

Adidas had been under pressure to cut ties with West, as celebrities and others on social media urged it to act. It said at the beginning of October that it was reviewing its lucrative sneaker deal with the rapper.

The clothing giant has been locked in disputes with West for months, after he falsely accused it of stealing his designs, calling out CEO Kasper Rorsted by name in a tweet.

Earlier this month, West released a half-hour video of a meeting with Adidas bosses in which he accused them of  doing “wrong by the company, by the company and by the partnership”. He also showed the managers a pornographic film.

West repeated his anti-Jewish rants in an appearance on sports podcast Drink Champs, and also took aim at Adidas.

“The thing about it being Adidas – I can say anti-Semitic things and Adidas can’t drop me. Now what? Now what?”

On Tuesday, the company acted. It said it had conducted a “thorough review” and would immediately stop production of its line of Yeezy products and stop payments to West and his companies.

The sportswear company said it was expected to take a hit of up to €250 million ($390 million) to its net income this year from the move. Sales of Yeezy products make up 4-8 per cent of its revenue.

But the hit is likely to be even larger to West – Forbes estimates the deal accounted for US$1.5 billion of the rapper’s net worth.

“With that gone, Ye is no longer a billionaire,” it wrote on Wednesday.

Adidas is just the latest company to end connections with West, who also has been suspended from Twitter and Instagram over antisemitic posts that the social networks said violated their policies.

He recently suggested slavery was a choice and called the COVID-19 vaccine the “mark of the beast”, among other comments.

He was also criticised for wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt to his Yeezy collection show in Paris.

West’s talent agency, CAA, dropped him, and the MRC studio announced Monday that it would shelve a complete documentary about him.

The Balenciaga fashion house cut ties with West last week, according to Women’s Wear Daily.

JPMorganChase and West have ended their business relationship, although the banking breakup was in the works even before the recent antisemitic comments.

In recent weeks, West has also ended his company’s association with Gap and has told Bloomberg that he plans to cut ties with his corporate suppliers.

He has accused Gap of breaching the terms of their deal. Gap said on Tuesday it would remove Yeezy Gap products from its stores, and that it had shut down the website.

“Antisemitism, racism and hate in any form are inexcusable and not tolerated … We are partnering with organisations that combat hate and discrimination,” it wrote on its collaborative Instagram account with West.

After he was suspended from Twitter and Facebook, West offered last week to buy conservative social network Parler. The status of that deal remains unconfirmed.

On Saturday, demonstrators on a Los Angeles overpass unfurled a banner praising West’s antisemitic comments, prompting an outcry on social media as celebrities and others said they stood with Jewish people.

-with AAP

Topics: Kanye West
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