Adidas has cut ties with the rapper formerly known as Kanye West over the entertainer’s recent antisemitic comments, the German sportswear company announced Tuesday.
“After a thorough review, the company has taken the decision to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies,” Adidas said in a statement.
“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech. 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.”
Adidas said it was expected to take a hit of up to 250 million euros ($246 million) to its net income this year from the move.
Earlier this month, the artist tweeted he would soon go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” making an apparent reference to the U.S. defense readiness condition scale known as DEFCON.
His antisemitic rhetoric prompted him to be locked out of his Instagram and Twitter accounts.
West, or Ye, recently suggested slavery was a choice and called the COVID-19 vaccine the “mark of the beast,” among other comments. He also was criticized for wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt to his Yeezy collection show in Paris.
Demonstrators on a Los Angeles overpass Saturday unfurled a banner praising Ye’s antisemitic comments, prompting an outcry on social media from celebrities and others who said they stand with Jewish people.
The decision by Adidas comes one day after the Los Angeles Times reported that the prestigious Hollywood talent agency CAA would no longer represent the rapper.
In Germany, where Adidas is headquartered, the head of the country’s main Jewish group welcomed the company’s decision but said the “step was overdue.”
“I would have liked a clear stance earlier from a German company that also was entangled with the Nazi regime,” Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement. “Adidas has done a lot to distance itself from its past and, like many sports brands, is one of those companies that conduct big campaigns against antisemitism and racism. That’s why an earlier separation from Kanye West would have been appropriate.”
In a controversial appearance on the podcast “Drink Champs,” Kanye West said: “I can say antisemitic things and Adidas can’t drop me. Now what? Now what?” The clip is from the Oct. 16 episode, which has since been taken down.
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