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Adidas Ends Partnership With Kanye West Over Antisemitic Comment

The Evangelist
October 25, 2022

Adidas said on Tuesday that it is cutting ties with Kanye West, ending what may have been the most significant corporate fashion partnership of the rapper and designer’s career after he made a series of antisemitic remarks and embraced a slogan associated with white supremacists that earned him widespread condemnation.

Adidas, which began collaborating with Ye, as Mr. West is now known, nearly a decade ago, after he left Nike, has long weathered public barbs from the rapper.

Its partnership with Yeezy, Ye’s company, which encompasses sneakers and clothing, is estimated to be worth billions, making it among the largest sources of Ye’s wealth, New York Times reports.

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.”

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 behaviour 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.”

Meanwhile, Instagram and Twitter suspended Ye’s accounts. Ari Emanuel of Endeavor, the parent company of the talent agency WME, called on entertainment companies to stop working with Ye.

Balenciaga, the fashion house that had partnered with Ye in his Yeezy Gap project (which came to an end in September) and opened its runway show in Paris this month with a modelling stint by Ye, deleted him from its pictures and videos of the show. Similar images disappeared from Vogue Runway, the platform of record for fashion shows, and the magazine stated it “had no intention” of working with Ye in the future.

On Monday, CAA, the talent agency that represents Ye, said it had dropped him as a client, while the studio MRC said it was shelving a documentary on him.

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