Adidas, Gap Ax Kanye ‘Ye’ West Clothing Deals, Adidas Forecasts $250 Million Hit to Net Income This Year

Brands are the latest to cut ties with the rapper over his antisemitic remarks

kanye ye west
Kanye "Ye" West in January 20, 2022 (Photo by Victor Boyko/Getty Images For Kenzo)

Adidas and Gap on Tuesday became the latest brands to cut business ties with Kanye “Ye” West over the rapper’s antisemitic tirades.

The German sportswear company Adidas ended a longstanding partnership and forecasting a nearly $250 million hit to net income this year from the decision. “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 company said in a statement.

Hours later, Gap announced that it was pulling its Yeezy Gap line from stores and shuttered the website. “Our former partner’s recent remarks and behavior further underscore why we are taking immediate steps to remove Yeezy Gap product from our stores,” the retailer said in a statement. In September, Gap Inc. and the rapper’s Yeezy fashion line had announced the termination of a 10-year partnership signed two years ago.

A rep for Ye did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Earlier this month, Adidas had placed its lucrative 9-year-old partnership under “review” after the rapper appeared at a fashion show wearing a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt that many considered an offensive reference to white supremacy. Now, the company says it will halt production of Yeezy branded products and stop payments to Ye and his companies effective immediately.

Pressure had mounted on Adidas in recent days as the rapper, who legally changed his name to Ye, has repeatedly made antisemitic remarks. Comments like calling for “death con 3 ON JEWISH PEOPLE” earned him suspensions from Twitter and Instagram. Rather than apologizing, Ye has doubled down, even saying on a recent podcast, “I can say antisemitic things and Adidas can’t drop me.”

The company, whose stock price has slumped 20% in the last month, has a troubled history with antisemitism. Company founder Adi Dassler was a member of the Nazi Party, and his factory was forced to produce munitions in the final years of World War II.

Now Adidas has joined a slew of other corporate brands distancing themselves from the star over his hate speech after signing him away from rival Nike in 2013 and renewing the partnership in 2016. The fashion giant Balenciaga severed its own deal with Ye last week, as did JP Morgan Chase.

And on Monday, Ye’s Hollywood talent agency, CAA, dropped him as a client and the production company MRC canceled an already-completed documentary about the star.

In addition, Universal Music Group, whose Def Jam label released Ye’s 2021 album “Donda,” said in a statement Tuesday that its relationship with the rapper as a recording artist had ended last year — along with Def Jam’s partnership with Ye’s Good Music label and his merchandising deal with the company. “There is no place for antisemitism in our society,” the company said. “We are deeply committed to combating antisemitism and every other form of prejudice.”

Along with his antisemitic remarks, West said that George Floyd wasn’t murdered by police officers but rather died from fentanyl use, which has prompted a $250 million lawsuit from Floyd’s surviving family members.

He also announced plans to purchase the right-wing social media platform Parler though terms of the deal, to be completed by the end of the year, have not been disclosed.

On the Adidas decision, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, which was one of the many entities encouraging the brand to end its relationship with Ye, shared the following statement with TheWrap:

“This is a very positive outcome. 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. We were proud to see many joined ADL’s campaign, #RunAwayfromHate, that pressured Adidas to do the right thing, including the thousands of people who sent emails, the dozens of celebrities who spoke up, and the prominent brands who cut ties. Taken together, all these elements sent an unambiguous signal that moved the company to take action. In the end, Adidas’ action sends a powerful message that antisemitism and bigotry have no place in society.”