Adidas ends partnership with Kanye West after anti-Semitic remarks

Adidas cuts partnership with Kanye West after anti-Semitic remarks


The divorce is pronounced: the Adidas clothing brand has decided to stop its juicy collaboration with Kanye West after remarks of an anti-Semitic nature by the American rapper, increasingly sidelined by his partners commercial. 

“Adidas does not tolerate anti-Semitism or any other form of hate speech”, justified the German group in a press release announcing the “immediate end” of the partnership with Ye , the name by which Kanye West is now known.

The sports equipment manufacturer will also “end the manufacture of products” from the rapper's Yeezy brand.

The collaboration between Adidas and the American star has long been one of the fashion world's most successful.

Developed since 2014, the Yeezy sneaker collection has enjoyed phenomenal success that has helped make Kanye West billionaire.

Relations between the two partners had deteriorated significantly in recent months in connection with the various escapades of the star.

Ye was suspended from Twitter after tweeting that he was going to attack Jews in a post that the social network has since deleted for breaking its rules. He was also suspended from Instagram.

Adidas had already indicated in early October that it wanted to reassess its relationship with Kanye West.

The rapper had appeared a few days earlier wearing a t-shirt crossed out with the slogan “White Lives Matter” during a fashion show in Paris.

This slogan, used by the American far right, diverts the name of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which militates against racism towards African Americans.

“Danger for Jews”

Many voices were raised to call on Adidas to break its silence.

“As a German company, I expect a clear attitude from Adidas on anti-Semitism,” asked Josef Schuster , President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. The founders of Adidas were members of the Nazi Party.

“Your silence is a danger to Jews,” tweeted Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, an NGO fighting against the anti-Semitism.

On Monday, the CAA agency representing Kanye West, one of the most important in Hollywood, indicated that they were ending their collaboration.

The production company MRC for its part canceled a documentary that had already been completed about the rapper.

“We cannot support any content that expands its audience,” the company said, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times.

Other show business personalities, including Ari Emanuel, president of Endeavor, another California agency, called on all companies collaborating with the rapper to do the same.

“Those who continue to do affairs with Kanye West give his misguided hatred an audience,” Ari Emanuel wrote in the Financial Times. “There should be zero tolerance anywhere for Kanye West's anti-Semitism.”

Last week, fashion house Balenciaga broke with the artist.

Kanye West, who says he has bipolar disorder, was previously banned from posting on Instagram for 24 hours in March amid his acrimonious divorce from American star Kim Kardashian.

“Hate speech is never acceptable or excusable,” his ex-wife wrote on Twitter and Instagram on Monday, without mentioning the name of the father of his children.

Bad time for Adidas

Alongside Beyoncé, Stella McCartney and Pharrell Williams, Kanye West was among the celebrities with whom Adidas has partnered to appeal to customers in the lifestyle segment.

The announced end of the Yeezy collection will have “a negative impact of up to 250 million euros on the net result of the company in 2022″, warned the group.

Adidas recalled being “the sole owner of all design rights of the existing products (…) as part of the partnership”, anticipating a possible legal battle to come.

Sales of the now famous high-top sneakers exceeded $1 billion in 2019, according to Forbes magazine.

Kanye West also presented eight collections of Yeezy clothing, with much weaker sales.

The separation with the rapper is a new blow for the German equipment manufacturer, which has already reviewed decline in its annual objectives, due to a turnover weighed down by the zero policy Covid in China and the decline in purchasing power in Western markets.

On the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on Tuesday, the Adidas stock lost nearly 4% at midday.