Adidas ends Kanye West partnership over anti-Semitism, hate speech

  • Adidas ends partnership immediately
  • Decision to weigh with $250 mln on 2022 net income
  • Adidas sole owner of design rights

Oct 25 (Reuters) – Adidas AG (ADSGn.DE) is terminating its partnership with Kanye West immediately, the sporting goods maker said on Tuesday, reacting to a rash of offensive behavior from the American rapper and designer.

“Adidas does not tolerate anti-Semitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the German company said.

“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,” it said, using the rapper’s artist name.

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A lawyer representing Kanye West did not respond to a request for comment.

Ending the partnership and the production of Yeezy branded products, as well as stopping all payments to Ye and his companies will “have a short-term negative impact” of up to $250 million” on Adidas’ net income this year, the company said, partially as the Christmas quarter tends to see greater demand usually.

Adidas put the partnership under review earlier in October “after repeated efforts to privately resolve the situation.”

Ye has courted controversy in recent months by publicly ending major corporate tie-ups and due to outbursts on social media against other celebrities. His Twitter and Instagram accounts were restricted, with the social media platforms removing some of his online posts that users condemned as antisemitic.

In now-deleted Instagram posts from earlier this year, the multiple Grammy award-winning artist accused Adidas and US apparel retailer Gap Inc (GPS.N) of failing to build contractually promised permanent stores for products from his Yeezy fashion line.

He also accused Adidas of stealing his designs for his own products.

Gap and Ye ended their partnership in September. European fashion house Balenciaga has also cut ties with Ye, according to media reports.

Adidas poached Ye from rival Nike Inc (NKE.N) in 2013 and agreed to a new long-term partnership in 2016 in what the company then called “the most significant partnership created between a non-athlete and a sports brand.”

The tie-up, which produced several hot-selling “Yeezy” branded Adidas sneakers that cost between $200 and $700, helped the German brand close the gap with Nike in the US market.

Yeezy generates about 1.5 billion euros ($1.47 billion) in annual sales for Adidas, making up a little over 7% of its total revenue, according to estimates from Telsey Advisory Group.

Shares in Adidas, which cut its full-year forecast last week, were down about 3.8%. The group said it would provide more information as part of its upcoming Q3 announcement earnings on Nov. 9.

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Reporting by Mrinmay Dey and Uday Sampath in Bengaluru; Editing by Tomasz Janowski, Sriraj Kalluvila and Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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