Adidas ends collaboration with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, due to anti-Semitic remarks

Adidas has ended its partnership with the rapper formerly known as Kanye West over his offensive and anti-Semitic remarks, the latest company to cut ties with Ye and a decision the German sportswear company said would hit its bottom line.

“Adidas does not tolerate anti-Semitism and any other form of hate speech,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday. “Yes’ 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 faced pressure to cut ties with Ye, with celebrities and others on social media urging Adidas to act. It said earlier this month that it was placing its lucrative sneaker deal with the rapper under review.

Adidas said Tuesday it was conducting a “thorough review” and would immediately stop production of its line of Yeezy products and stop payments to Ye and his companies. The sportswear company said it was expected to take a hit of up to 250 million euros ($246 million) to its net income this year from the move. The company is the sole owner of the design rights to Yeezy, Adidas said.

Adidas’ deal with West officially started in 2016, with the company at the time calling it “the most significant partnership ever created between an athletic brand and a non-athlete.”

Other companies drop Ye

Jewish groups said the decision to drop Ye was overdue.

“I would have liked a clear position earlier from a German company that was also entangled in the Nazi regime,” Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, the main Jewish group in the country where Adidas is headquartered.

Adidas is just the latest company to end ties with Ye, who has been suspended from Twitter and Instagram over anti-Semitic posts that the social networks said violated their policies.

Earlier this month, Ye tweeted a threat that he would go “death [sic] con 3″ about Jewish people, alluding to a term for defense preparedness used by the US military. He also posted a screenshot of a text exchange with Sean “Diddy” Combs in which he suggested that Combs was being controlled by Jews.

West recently suggested that slavery was a choice and called the COVID-19 vaccine the “mark of the beast,” among other controversial comments. He was also criticized for wearing one “White Lives Matter” T-shirt for his Yeezy collection exhibition in Paris. The term has been adopted and promoted by white supremacist groups and sympathizers, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Ye’s talent agency, CAA, lost him, and the MRC studio announced on Monday that it is shelving a full documentary about him. Ari Emmanuel, CEO of talent agency Endeavor, wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times last week calling on all companies to stop working with Ye over his anti-Semitism.

The Balenciaga fashion house cut ties with Ye last week, according to Women’s Wear Daily. Foot Locker also said it would stop carrying the Yeezy brand and pull Yeezy shoes from its shelves and online sites. JPMorgan Chase and Ye have ended their business relationship, although the bank break-up was already in the works before Ye’s anti-Semitic comments.

“While Adidas was somewhat late to cut ties with Kanye West, it has now given in to the inevitable and ended its partnership with the artist,” Neil Saunders, CEO of market research firm GlobalData, said in an email. “Given the vileness of Ye’s recent comments, and the fact that his words are now stirring anti-Semitism among others, Adidas had no choice but to act to protect its reputation and show customers that it is on the right side of morality .”

A spokesperson for Vogue confirmed on Tuesday that the magazine and its global editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, do not intend to work with Ye again following his most controversial remarks and behavior.

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In recent weeks, Ye has also completed his the company’s affiliation with Gap and has told Bloomberg that he plans to cut ties with his company suppliers. Gap said Tuesday it is removing everything Search for Yeezy Gap from the retailer’s stores and its e-commerce site.

“Anti-Semitism, racism and hatred in any form are inexcusable and not tolerated in line with our values,” the clothing chain said in a statement.

Protesters on a Los Angeles overpass on Saturday unfurled a banner praising Ye’s anti-Semitic comments, sparking an outcry on social media as celebrities and others said they stand with the Jewish people.

In 2021, Bloomberg ranked West as the richest black American, establishing his net worth of $6 billion. Morningstar analyst David Swartz told the Washington Post that Yeezy product sales generated about $2 billion a year for Adidas, or nearly 10% of its annual revenue.

Adidas shares fell more than 3% in trading Tuesday and are down 61% this year.

Adidas does not disclose Yeezy sales figures, but the impact will be more severe than expected since the brand has ended production of all Yeezy products and ceased royalty payments, according to Morningstar analyst David Swartz in a note published Tuesday.

Swartz expects total Adidas revenue to reach 23.2 billion euros ($23.1 billion) this year, with the Yeezy brand generating 1.5 to 2 billion euros ($1.99 billion), or nearly 10 % of the total amount. The expensive brand accounts for up to 15% of the company’s net income, Swartz said.

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