Adidas has terminated its agreement with Kanye West’s Yeezy shoe brand after the singer has been heavily criticized for recent antisemitic comments.
West, who now calls himself Ye, is drawing widespread condemnation for a “vile antisemitic rant” he made on Twitter. He was banned from the social media platform for remarks he made about Jewish people.
According to Billboard, in a nearly three-hour interview with MIT scientist Lex Fridman, he stated: “We are still in the holocaust. A Jewish friend of mine said, ‘Go visit the Holocaust museum’, and my response was, ‘Let’s visit our Holocaust museum: Planned Parenthood.’
The interview between the two men, who Ye (as the rapper/entrepreneur is now known) described as “friends,” included inflammatory, unsubstantiated claims about abortion, Planned Parenthood and what West described as a conspiracy by “Jewish doctors” to medicate and sedate him.
“We are still in the Holocaust. A Jewish friend of mine said, ‘Go visit the Holocaust Museum,’ and my response was, let’s visit our Holocaust Museum: Planned Parenthood,” West said, echoing his past offensive claims about Planned Parenthood while once again amplifying his antisemitic commentary while speaking to Fridman, a Soviet Union-born Jewish podcaster who noted during the chat that some of his family members were killed by Nazis during the Holocaust.
West appeared to downplay the atrocities of the Holocaust by noting that while six million Jews were slaughtered by the Nazis, “over 20 million have died by the hands of abortion,” claiming that the phrase ‘my body, my choice’ is a ‘promotion’ for Panned Parenthood’.
Now, Adidas, the sportswear company who manage Yeezy’s manufacturing and distribution, said it was expected to take a hit of up to $246m to its net income this year from this decision.
In a statement, the company said: “Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech. 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.”
Adidas says it is the sole owner of all design rights to existing products as well as previous and new colorways under the partnership.
The termination is going to hit West, who has recently gone through a divorce with Kim Kardashian, hard. In 2020, Forbes announced that West was a billionaire off the back of his Yeezy agreement with Adidas. The magazine has also just announced that he has lost his billionaire status now Adidas has pulled the deal.
West licensed his shoe brand to the footwear giant, who have been able to use their universal size and strength to produce and sell his shoes. For this, West reportedly receives a 15% royalty on all sales globally.
Since moving into Christian music, West has never been far from the headlines. From starting his own Sunday Services, to facing backlash after inviting Marilyn Manson to pray at his Sunday Services, he has been a highly controversial figure.
In May, he was sued by a Texas pastor for allegedly sampling his sermon on ‘Come to Life’, the hit song from his 2021 album ‘Donda’.