Adidas cuts ties with Kanye West over antisemitism, 'offensive behavior'

German sporting goods maker Adidas ended its partnership with American rapper Kanye West, following a rash of offensive behavior.

 US rapper Kanye West (C), attends the Givenchy Spring-Summer 2023 fashion show during the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week, in Paris, on October 2, 2022.  (photo credit: JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images)
US rapper Kanye West (C), attends the Givenchy Spring-Summer 2023 fashion show during the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week, in Paris, on October 2, 2022.
(photo credit: JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images)

German sporting goods maker Adidas on Tuesday announced an immediate end to its partnership with American rapper Kanye West, following a rash of offensive behavior and antisemitic comments from the performer and designer in recent weeks.

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company wrote in a statement. [West]’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 on October 6 said it was reviewing its business partnership with the rapper and fashion designer.

The following weekend, the rapper had his Twitter and Instagram accounts restricted, with the social media platforms saying they removed his posts that online users condemned as antisemitic.

West, who has been working with Adidas since 2013, had been publicly critical of Adidas and its CEO, saying the sporting goods maker was copying his ideas, CNBC had earlier reported.

 Kanye West during the Cincinnati Bengals game against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium (credit: MARK J. REBILAS-USA TODAY SPORTS) Kanye West during the Cincinnati Bengals game against the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium (credit: MARK J. REBILAS-USA TODAY SPORTS)

In September, West terminated his partnership with apparel retailer Gap Inc. West recently agreed to buy Parler, the social media platform popular among US ultra-conservatives.

West's recent antisemitic comments

West has made several antisemitic comments on social media, including his now-deleted tweet saying, “I’m a bit sleeping [sic] tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 on Jewish people.” He also warned Jews about toying with him and claiming that “Jewish Zionists” are controlling the media.

ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt sent a letter to Adidas expressing concern over the company’s plans to continue releasing products by West and calling on the company to “reconsider” following West’s increasingly antisemitic comments.

Following the ADL’s call for Adidas to drop him, West explicitly said that he could “say antisemitic s**t and Adidas cannot drop me.”

Other companies have already ended their partnerships with West, including his talent agency, Creative Arts Agency, fashion house Balenciaga and global fashion icon Anna Wintour.

These decisions were made after intense pressure from both Jewish and non-Jewish activists, calling for the companies to end their partnerships with West, following his recent antisemitic comments.

International March of the Living responds:

International March of the Living has commended Adidas for its recent decision to immediately terminate its partnership with Ye formerly known as Kanye West, for his most recent antisemitic statements, including those threatening the Jewish people.

"The decision by Adidas - a German company globally famous for its shoes - carries even greater significance as International March of the Living is now partnering with the Auschwitz-Birkenau Foundation and the Auschwitz–Birkenau State Museum to restore 8,000 shoes which were taken from innocent Jewish children murdered in Auschwitz," their statement read.

"These shoes, silent witnesses of lives lost, are the last tangible evidence of those Jewish children led to the gas chambers upon their arrival to the camp. They tell the story of where hatred can lead - a lesson of which Kanye clearly should take note.

"To reaffirm our strong stance against hatred, we invite all people around the world to join us in the preservation of these 8,000 children’s shoes in the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum by participating in our Sole to Soul Campaign at www.motl.org/shoes."