Adidas has officially terminated its deal with Kanye West (also known as Ye), citing his “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous” comments.
Update (10/25): Gap has announced that it’s “taking immediate steps to remove Yeezy GAP” items from stores, and execs have “shut down YeezyGap.com.” Below is our original coverage of Adidas’ decision to end its own Kanye West partnership.
The German corporation announced its decision to cut ties with Ye just moments ago, having placed its branding deal with the artist and entrepreneur “under review” about two weeks back. Moreover, the move arrives after West made numerous headlines for comments on social media and a podcast, which were followed by Universal Music Group’s denouncing anti-Semitism.
Even before these statements (for which Ye issued an apology that some described as disingenuous) entered the media spotlight, though, West had been publicly venting about the perceived shortcomings of his tie-ups with Adidas and Gap.
(While the Adidas union initiated in 2015, West only inked his partnership deal with Gap in the summer of 2020. It’s unclear whether Gap intends to nix the decade-long agreement, but the business mass-sent an email about a new Yeezy Gap product, a “long round jacket,” this past Saturday.)
As mentioned at the outset, Adidas has joined the likes of CAA and JPMorgan Chase in ending its deal with Ye – a choice that execs say will inflict “a short-term negative impact of up to €250 million on” their company’s 2022 net income.
“adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the entity wrote. “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.
“After a thorough review, the company has taken the decision to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies. adidas will stop the adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect.
“This is expected to have a short-term negative impact of up to €250 million on the company’s net income in 2022 given the high seasonality of the fourth quarter,” the Herzogenaurach-headquartered operation continued.
Interestingly, Adidas closed out the message by indicating that it “is the sole owner of all design rights to existing products as well as previous and new colorways under the partnership.” Higher-ups are expected to provide additional information about the subject with the release of Adidas’ Q3 earnings on Wednesday, November 9th.
It remains to be seen whether the fallout surrounding Kanye West’s remarks will compel the music industry to confront other (potentially more serious) instances of anti-Semitism.
Spotify, despite dropping an undoubtedly substantial sum to acquire content-moderation company Kinzen, has opted not to remove (or even add a disclaimer to) the music of at least one overtly anti-Semitic artist, whose songs praise Adolf Hitler, ISIS leaders, and “the courage and bravery of the 3rd Reich and its heroic mysticism.”
(YouTube, which has promptly pulled down all manner of other videos for different reasons, is likewise providing a seemingly disclaimer-free platform to the individual in question.)
And certain acts, including one of Warner Music’s bestselling artists, have long spewed anti-Israel rhetoric that many have criticized as dangerous and irresponsible.