(Berlin) The divorce is pronounced: the clothing brand Adidas has decided to stop its juicy collaboration with Kanye West after remarks of an anti-Semitic nature by the American rapper, who is increasingly sidelined by his business partners.
“Adidas does not tolerate anti-Semitism or any other form of hate speech”, justified the German group in a press release announcing the “immediate end” of the partnership with Ye, the name under which Kanye West is now known.
The sports equipment manufacturer will also “end the manufacture of products” from the rapper’s Yeezy brand.
The collaboration between Adidas and the American star has long been one of the most fruitful in the fashion world.
Developed since 2014, the Yeezy sneaker collection has enjoyed phenomenal success that helped make Kanye West a billionaire.
Relations between the two partners had deteriorated significantly in recent months in connection with the various escapades of the star.
Ye was suspended from Twitter after tweeting that he was going to attack Jews in a post that the social network has since deleted for breaking its rules. He was also suspended from Instagram.
Adidas had already indicated in early October that it wanted to reassess its relationship with Kanye West.
The rapper had appeared a few days earlier wearing a t-shirt crossed out with the slogan “White Lives Matter” during a fashion show in Paris.
This slogan, used by the American far right, diverts the name of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which campaigns against racism against African-Americans.
“Danger for the Jews”
Many voices were raised to call on Adidas to come out of its silence.
“As a German company, I expect a clear attitude from Adidas on anti-Semitism,” asked Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. The founders of Adidas were members of the Nazi Party.
“Your silence is a danger to Jews,” tweeted Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, an NGO fighting anti-Semitism.
On Monday, the CAA agency representing Kanye West, one of the most important in Hollywood, indicated that they were ending their collaboration.
The production company MRC has for its part canceled a documentary yet already completed on the rapper.
“We cannot support any content that expands its audience,” the company said, as quoted by the Los Angeles Times.
Other entertainment industry figures, including Ari Emanuel, president of Endeavor, another California agency, called on all companies collaborating with the rapper to do the same.
“Those who continue to do business with Kanye West are giving his misguided hatred an audience,” Ari Emanuel wrote in the Financial Times. “There should be zero tolerance anywhere for Kanye West’s anti-Semitism. »
Last week, the fashion house Balenciaga broke with the artist.
Kanye West, who says he has bipolar disorder, was banned from posting on Instagram for 24 hours in March amid his acrimonious divorce from American star Kim Kardashian.
“Hate speech is never acceptable or excusable,” his ex-wife wrote on Twitter and Instagram on Monday, without mentioning the name of the father of his children.
Bad luck for Adidas
Along with Beyoncé, Stella McCartney and Pharrell Williams, Kanye West was among the celebrities with whom Adidas has partnered to appeal to customers in the lifestyle segment.
The announced end of the Yeezy collection will have “a negative impact of up to 250 million euros on the company’s net income in 2022”, warned the group.
Adidas recalled being “the sole owner of all design rights for existing products […] as part of the partnership”, anticipating a possible legal battle to come.
Sales of the now famous high-top sneakers topped $1 billion in 2019, according to Forbes magazine.
Kanye West also presented eight collections of Yeezy clothing, with much lower sales.
The separation with the rapper is a new blow for the German equipment manufacturer, which has already lowered its annual objectives, due to a turnover weighed down by the zero COVID-19 policy in China and the decline in power. buying in Western markets.
On the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on Tuesday, the Adidas title lost nearly 4% at midday.
When brands break with stars
Before Kanye West, with whom Adidas ended its commercial partnership on Tuesday because of his anti-Semitic remarks, several stars had their contracts terminated by a brand because of their remarks or behavior.
Nicknamed “Blade Runner”, the South African Paralympic athlete, six-time gold medalist at the Games, is accused of the premeditated murder, in February 2013, of his girlfriend, top model Reeva Steenkamp. He supports the thesis of an accident.
He immediately lost his main partners (Nike, Clarins, Thierry Mugler, Oakley, etc.). The athlete will be sentenced on appeal to 15 years in prison.
The American cyclist, seven-time winner of the Tour de France, was let go in 2012 by his longtime equipment supplier, Nike, after the damning report of the American Anti-Doping Agency.
In the process, he lost his contracts with the Trek bicycle brand and the American brewer Anheuser-Busch. A total loss of revenue estimated at nearly $30 million.
Before separating from Armstrong, after more than 10 years of collaboration, Nike was accused by the American press of having covered the actions of the champion, which the brand denied.
His marital troubles and his poor results on the green cost the American golf champion dearly.
One by one, the brands ended their contracts with him (Tag Heuer, Gillette, AT & T, Pepsi or Accenture).
The “Tiger”, however, retained the support of certain sponsors such as Nike, which allowed him to remain the highest paid athlete in the world at the time.
After the publication in February 2009 of photos showing him smoking cannabis, the American swimming champion immediately lost, despite his apologies, the support of one of his sponsors, Kellogg’s.
The cereal manufacturer judged that the image of the record holder of Olympic medals was no longer in line with that of the brand.
The face of Dior, the American actress Sharon Stone angered Beijing in 2008 by suggesting that the devastating earthquake in Sichuan could be a consequence of Chinese policy in Tibet. “I think it’s karma,” she blurts out.
The French luxury brand makes its mea culpa with China by denouncing “cookie-cutter remarks”. Dior-China even decides to cancel in the country any advertising associating the actress.
The heroine of “Basic Instinct” will apologize in turn.
In 2005, photos showing the British supermodel sniffing white powder cost her dearly.
One by one, the brands in contract with “la Brindille” put an end to their collaboration (H & M, Burberry, Chanel, Rimmel…).
However, Kate Moss will sign again, a few years later, many other advertising contracts.
Known for her outspokenness, the American actress mocked Republican President George W. Bush in 2004 at a fundraising gala for the Democrats.
The gritty joke displeases the Anglo-Dutch food group Unilever, which is canceling its advertising campaign for the Slim-Fast diet product, which she stars in.
The American singer, follower of transgression, mixed in 1989, in the clip of her hit “Like a Prayer”, eroticism and religion by kissing a black Christ.
This causes a huge scandal, even in the Vatican. Faced with boycott threats from religious groups, the soda giant Pepsi lets go of Madonna and cancels her advertising contract.