Adidas has ended its association with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, due to his offensive and anti-Semitic comments, the latest company to cut ties with Ye and a decision the German sportswear company said would affect its bottom line.
“Adidas does not tolerate anti-Semitism and any other type of hate speech,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday. “Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and 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. He said earlier this month that he was reviewing his lucrative sneaker deal with the rapper.
The last firm to cut connections
Adidas said on Tuesday it had conducted a “thorough review” and would immediately halt production of its Yeezy product line and suspend payments to Ye and his companies. The sportswear company said it expected to take a hit of up to 250 million euros ($338.5 million Canadian) to its net income this year from the move.
The move by Adidas, whose CEO Kasper Rorsted is due to step down next year, comes after Ye was suspended from Twitter and Instagram this month for anti-Semitic posts that social media said violated its policies.
He recently suggested slavery was an option and called the COVID-19 vaccine the “mark of the beast,” among other comments. He was also criticized for wearing a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt at his Yeezy collection show in Paris.
Abandoned by his agent
Ye’s talent agency CAA dropped him, and the MRC studio announced on Monday that it will drop a full documentary about him.
Fashion house Balenciaga cut ties with Ye last week, according to Women’s Wear Daily. JPMorganChase and Ye have ended their business relationship, although the bank breakup was in the works even before Ye’s anti-Semitic comments.
In recent weeks, Ye has also ended his company’s association with Gap, telling Bloomberg he plans to cut ties with his corporate suppliers.
After he was suspended from Twitter and Facebook, Ye offered to buy the conservative social network Parler.
The rapper, who has won 24 Grammy Awards, has earned a reputation less for his music and more for stirring up controversy since 2016, when he was hospitalized in Los Angeles for what his team called stress and exhaustion. It was later revealed that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Jewish groups have pointed to the danger of the rapper’s comments at a time of rising anti-Semitism. Such incidents in the US reached an all-time high last year, the Anti-Defamation League said in a letter to Adidas last week urging it to break up with Ye.
On Saturday, protesters on a Los Angeles overpass unfurled a banner praising Ye’s anti-Semitic comments, sparking an outcry on social media as celebrities and others said they support the Jewish people.
Jewish groups welcomed Adidas’s decision but said the move was overdue. The World Jewish Congress noted that during World War II, Adidas factories “produced supplies and weapons for the Nazi regime, using slave labor.”
In Germany, where Adidas is based, the head of the country’s main Jewish group welcomed the company’s decision, but said “the step was overdue”.
“I would have liked a clear stance earlier from a German company that was also involved with the Nazi regime,” Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement. “Adidas has done a lot to distance itself from its past and, like many sports brands, it is one of those companies that campaigns heavily against anti-Semitism and racism. That’s why it would have been appropriate to part ways with Kanye West sooner.”
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