Kanye West Loses Major Business Deal Over Antisemitic Comments

Adidas ended its partnership with Kanye West with "immediate effect" Tuesday after the rapper's repeated antisemitic comments. The sportswear company released a statement amid widespread pressure for it to cut ties with West, saying it "does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech" and that West's recent comments were "unacceptable, hateful and dangerous," violating the company's "values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness."

The company stated that sales and production of West's Yeezy branded products have stopped, as have all payments to the fashion designer. Adidas said it will take a $246 million hit to its fourth-quarter sales as a result. Adidas has been partnered with West since 2013, and in 2016, the brand expanded its relationship with the musician. 

In early October, however, Adidas put that partnership "under review" after West wore a "White Lives Matter" T-shirt, defending the words that the Anti-Defamation League categorize as a "hate slogan" publicly. West continued to spark outrage during a tirade against Jewish people on the Drink Champs Podcast, saying, "I can say antisemitic s- and Adidas cannot drop me." He also was restricted on Twitter after threatening to "Go death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE."

Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League CEO, called Adidas' announcement a "very positive outcome" in a statement. "It illustrates that antisemitism is unacceptable and creates consequences. Without a doubt, Adidas has done the right thing by cutting ties with Ye after his vicious antisemitic rants," he continued, thanking the "thousands of people who sent emails, the dozens of celebrities who spoke up, and the prominent brands who cut ties" to pressure Adidas into this decision. "In the end, Adidas' action sends a powerful message that antisemitism and bigotry have no place in society," he concluded.


Adidas is on the list of brands that have denounced West due to his statements. Balenciaga and Vogue publicly cut ties last week, and on Monday, West's talent agency CAA dropped him as a client. Last month, West said he was ending his two-year relationship with Gap, citing "substantial noncompliance" and saying he was left with "no choice but to terminate their collaboration," after claiming the company didn't open Yeezy stores and distribute merchandise as previously agreed upon.