Sports brand Adidas takes financial hit as it drops Kanye West

By our News Team | 2022

Adidas, which manufactures and markets West’s Yeezy sportswear brand, has immediately cut all ties over controversial and ‘hateful’ comments.

Global sports brand Adidas has cut its ties with entertainment megastar and billionaire Kanye West over a series of bizarre and controversial actions, most recently comments about Jewish people that have been described by the brand as ‘hateful and dangerous’.

In ending the relationship with immediate effect, Adidas will also take a financial hit estimated to be in the region of US$250-million, as it will lose the profits it makes from manufacturing the high-end Yeezy sneaker and apparel brand in collaboration with West.

Reputation Management

Kanye West with Kim Kardashian in 2019. Photo credit: Cosmopolitan UK via Wikimedia Commons

The rapper and entertainer, who is also known for his relationship with reality TV star Kim Kardashian, has previously remarked that Adidas could not drop him – presumably for financial reasons as his Yeezy brand is highly successful and Adidas has seen its other product lines struggle of late.

Other companies have also terminated relationships

West has already had business relationships terminated by Balenciaga, Gap (both fashion brands) and JPMorgan Chase (a major bank).  His long-time talent agency CAA has also reportedly stopped representing him, while Instagram and Twitter have suspended his accounts.

Recently West tweeted that he was going “death con 3 on Jewish people” and suggested on Instagram that rapper Diddy was controlled by Jewish people. He has also previously made other controversial comments, such as slavery being “a choice”.

In a media statement, Adidas said West’s comments were “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness”. It added that it would end production of items under West’s Yeezy brand and stop all payments to the entertainer and his companies.

“West had been associated with Nike for years, bringing out the Air Yeezy in 2009, but broke away in 2013, lending his name to Adidas instead. They launched their first Yeezy shoe together in 2015 – a partnership that helped make him a billionaire,” the London-based Guardian newspaper reported.

“The collaboration – which appears to have been removed from Adidas’s website with immediate effect – encompassed sportswear, jackets and trainers. However, it was the Yeezy Boost trainer that drew queues and high price tags for both new and second-hand.”