Adidas announced Tuesday that it was cutting ties to Ye, the fashion designer and artist formerly known under Kanye West. This follows a series antisemitic comments in recent weeks.
Ye’s almost ten-year-old partnership with the German sportswear company made him a billionaire. It also helped propel his Yeezy branded sneakers into a global market.
Adidas announced that it will not tolerate hate speech or antisemitism, following growing pressure for Ye to be dropped.
The company released a statement saying that “Ye’s recent remarks and actions were unacceptable, hateful, and dangerous and they violate our values of diversity, inclusion, mutual respect, and fairness.”
Adidas has announced that it will cease producing Yeezy products and will stop paying Ye and his companies. Adidas estimates that this decision will impact Adidas’ net income by almost $250 million in 2022.
Ye was the latest company to be isolated following a series of incendiary comments.
Adidas was reviewing its partnership with Ye after he wore a shirt titled “White Lives Matter” at Paris Fashion Week. The slogan has been adopted by white supremacists and is considered a symbol for hate speech by the Anti-Defamation League.
The ADL wrote to the company last week asking, “What more do you need?”
Jonathan Greenblatt, the ADL’s leader, stated in a statement that Adidas’ actions “send a powerful message to society that antisemitism, bigotry, and have no place in our society.”
This controversy draws attention to the Nazi connections of Adidas founders
This renewed attention has also brought back questions about the Adidas history. In the 1920s, brothers Adolf und Rudolf Dassler began manufacturing shoes in Bavaria, including spiked footwear. They both joined the Nazi party in 1933. During World War II, the factory was turned into a munitions facility. After a bitter split with his brother, Adolf Dassler (known as Adi) founded Adidas in 1949.
Inciting hatred against people of a particular race or religion is a crime under German law and can result in imprisonment. Public display of a Swastika is prohibited in Germany and could lead to criminal prosecution.
Ye was suspended by Instagram and Twitter earlier this month for antisemitic posts. One of the posts included a threat to tweet “death con 3” on JEWISH POPLE.
In response to the social media companies locking down his accounts, Ye announced that he was purchasing the conservative-friendly Twitter knock-off company Parler, in a move that puzzled tech observers. The transaction details are not yet public.
Ye’s latest fallout is Adidas’ decision to leave Ye. Ye has been making inflammatory comments since his infuriating remarks. Balenciaga, the fashion house of Balenciaga, has ended their relationship with him. The Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency has also quit him.
After reviewing recent antisemitic comments, MRC Production Studio announced Monday that it had decided to put on hold a documentary about Ye.
Company executives stated in a statement that they cannot support content that “amplifies his platform”.
Ye has not responded the Adidas splitup.
According to the rapper, he plans to create his own “Yecosystem”, which will include his own factories and retail outlets in order to fully seperate himself from the corporate world.