Adidas Has Finally Cut Ties With Kanye Over Antisemitic Remarks

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.
Kanye West, the rapper known as Ye, appears during Paris Fashion Week on January 23, 2022 in Paris, France.
Kanye West, the rapper known as Ye, appears during Paris Fashion Week on January 23, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Edward Berthelot / Getty Images)

Adidas announced Tuesday that the company is scrapping its partnership with Kanye West after the rapper, known as Ye, made a series of antisemitic remarks. 

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company said in a statement Tuesday, where they called the rapper’s comments and actions as “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous.”

Adidas was the last major company to cut ties with Ye, ending an almost decade-long partnership. Over the last few days, fashion giants Balenciaga and Vogue dropped Ye, talent agency CAA refused to represent him any more, MRC entertainment shelved a documentary about the rapper, and Instagram and Twitter suspended his accounts. 

Advertisement

Adidas said Tuesday that it conducted a “thorough review” and would immediately stop production of its line of Yeezy products and stop payments to Ye and his companies, adding that Ye’s comments violated the company’s “values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”

Over the course of the last month, Ye has shared antisemitic views on podcasts, in an interview with Tucker Carlson, on a livestream with Drink Champs, and on his now-suspended social media accounts. His actions have led to Ye being embraced by white supremacist groups; on Monday, a neo-Nazi group draped a banner over a highway in Los Angeles that proclaimed “Kanye is right about the Jews.” 

During the livestream with Drink Champs, Ye said, “I can say antisemitic shit and Adidas cannot drop me.” Ye and Adidas first began working together in 2013 after the company convinced the rapper to end his relationship with Nike. The partnership, which included the highly sought-after Yeezy sneaker line, has been so successful that Adidas said the decision to end its collaboration with the rapper would cost them almost $250 million in fourth-quarter sales.

Advertisement

Adidas put the partnership “under review” in October after Ye wore a “White Lives Matter” shirt to Paris Fashion Week—a phrase the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) describes as a hate slogan—but as the full extent of Ye’s antisemitic worldview has come into sharp focus in recent weeks, the brand has come under significant pressure to drop the artist completely.

In a statement on Monday, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said that his organization has had discussions on this topic with Adidas and criticized the company for doing nothing.

"Big brands, including Balenciaga, CAA, MRC, or Vogue, have stepped up and broken with Kanye. Adidas' failure to do so is pathetic," Greenblatt said.

Adidas was also facing pressure from its own employees.

“It's been 14 days since Kanye started spewing antisemitic rhetoric and Adidas has remained quiet; both internally to employees as well as externally to our customers,” Sarah Camhi, a director with the company, wrote on Facebook. “We have dropped Adidas athletes for using steroids and being difficult to work with but are unwilling to denounce hate speech, the perpetuation of dangerous stereotypes, and blatant racism by one of our top brand partners. Until Adidas takes a stand, I will not stand with Adidas.”