Adidas Ends Deal With Kanye West Amidst Rising Pressure

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Adidas Ends Deal With Kanye West Amidst Rising Pressure
Adidas Ends Deal With Kanye West Amidst Rising Pressure

Adidas is ending its nine-year-old partnership with Kanye West (now known as Ye) effective immediately in response to the rapper’s anti-semitic outburst on Twitter.

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company said.

“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.”

The announcement comes just two days after a video interview clip resurfaced on Twitter in which Ye is seen gloating about the lack of response from adidas over his anti-semitic comments.

"I can say antisemitic things and Adidas can't drop me. Now what?"

The video and Ye’s previous false statements about George Floyd triggered a wave of criticism from human rights activists, former friends, and brands such as Balenciaga. Meanwhile, it drew support from hate groups.

“At this point, we are kind of flummoxed how Adidas has dropped the ball and failed to make a clear and cogent statement about their values,” said Anti-Defamation League chief executive Jonathan Greenblatt in an interview with The Washington Post. 

"Antisemitism should be unacceptable in any circumstance. The fact that Adidas has not made that simple point is shocking when one considers Adidas's history as a company that once outfitted the Hitler Youth."

Adidas’ decision to cut ties with the artist comes at a time when the company is struggling with excess inventory and a slowdown in business in China. Its deal with Ye, however, was a stable and significant source of revenue. According to Morningstar analyst David Swartz, the partnership helped adidas generate nearly $2 billion a year, accounting for 10% of the company’s annual revenue.

The company expects the termination to result in a short-term negative impact of $246.5 million on its annual income. However, long-term damages are expected to be much higher.

Ye “is becoming more incendiary … it is close to the point where it is not viable anymore,” Swartz said. Although it is hard to guess Adidas’ psyche behind its decision, “it is clearly something they do not really want to face,” he added. “But they have to.”

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