When Kanye West made a series of antisemitic statements and adopted a phrase associated with white nationalists, Adidas, the most significant partner in his fashion business, announced little more than that its partnership with the rapper and designer was “under review.” This went on for more than two weeks.
But when Mr. West, now known as Ye, continued his provocative conduct, and as the criticism of his words became more public, on Tuesday, Adidas announced that it would terminate connections with him. The business indicated that this decision would cost it 250 million euros ($246 million) this year.
The firm, which has its headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany, said that it will immediately discontinue the agreement, put a halt to the manufacture of Yeezy-branded items, and cease making payments to Ye and his businesses.
On Monday, MRC studio announced that it will not be moving through with a documentary on him. Gap, which had a partnership with Ye that came to an end last month, announced on Tuesday that it was taking “immediate steps” to remove Yeezy Gap products from its stores and that it had shut down an affiliated website. Yeezy Gap products were sold in Gap stores before the partnership between the two companies ended. A number of athletes, including Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams and Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics, said on Tuesday that they were severing their relations with Donda Sports, the marketing firm that Ye uses, as a direct result of the antisemitic statements.
Adidas seems to be dragging its heels, much like many of Ye’s other fashion links, maybe in the hopes that he would issue a public apology that will help turn things around. Disentangling the deal between Yeezy and Adidas would have major contractual and long-term implications; the two brands were intertwined not only publicly, but financially and logistically as well. Unlike Ye’s other fashion relationships, which were largely unofficial and based on mutually advantageous appearances, disentangling the deal between Yeezy and Adidas would have major implications. More than ten percent of Adidas’s annual earnings of over two billion dollars was contributed to the collaboration, making it one of the most lucrative in the company’s history.
Adi Dassler, the creator of Adidas, was a member of the Nazi Party, and his factory was coerced into producing weapons in the latter years of World War II. After the conclusion of World War II, it was only because of the sworn word of a Jewish friend that he was granted permission to establish the firm that is still in operation today. It is possible to face legal consequences in Germany for making antisemitic sentiments online, and businesses with links to the Nazi period are obligated to take preventative measures to stop the spread of this kind of thinking.
Working with Ye provided Adidas with a boost of creative cool and legitimacy, which helped the firm recruit high-fashion colleagues such as Gucci and Balenciaga.
The demise of Ye’s collaboration with Adidas occurs at the same time as the realisation that his most recent musical endeavours have not lived up to the standards set by his earlier work. His most recent record, for example, was not distributed via streaming sites but rather through a private speaker system that cost $200. Fans who have followed him for a long time have condemned his growing dalliances with right-wing individuals. These criticisms include his increasingly frequent affiliations with Candace Owens and Tucker Carlson, as well as his decision to acquire the right-leaning social network Parler.
But it’s hard to say what lies ahead for the Yeezy brand. Ye still retains ownership of the Yeezy brand as a trademark. However, in its statement, Adidas claimed that it was the “sole owner” of all design rights to existing products that resulted from the partnership, as well as previous and new colorways that resulted from the collaboration. These claims were made regarding colorways that resulted from the partnership.
It remains to be seen what the sneakerheads who made the most recent release of Adidas Yeezy sneakers, which occurred on October 17, a sell-out product will do in the future.