Clothing giant Adidas has cut ties with rapper Ye, known as Kanye West, saying
it does “not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech”.
The company, which had faced increasing calls in recent days to terminate its
relationship with Ye, as Mr. West is now known, said the move would cost it 250
million euros ($246 million) this year.
The end of their nearly decade-long partnership — which was seen as enormously
lucrative for both Ye and Adidas — raised questions of what would come next for Ye,
who has been one of the most influential pop stars of recent decades but has become
increasingly polarizing and unreliable in recent years. CAA, Ye’s former talent
no longer represents him and Def Jam, his longtime record company, said that his
contract had expired last year.
“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 Herzogenaurach, Germany, said it would terminate the
partnership immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop
payments to Ye and his companies.
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 has been adopted by the white supremacist movement.
He made antisemitic remarks on social media and in interviews shortly after,
including a post on Twitter that said he would go “death con 3 ON JEWISH PEOPLE.”
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 modeling 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. Vogue magazine said it would no longer work with Ye, who had
appeared on its cover with his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, and often attended the Met