Adidas, Gap, and Others Flee Kanye West
By: James Flippin · October 27, 2022 · Reading Time: 3 minutes
Kanye West, the famous rapper-turned-fashion-icon, is sitting front row for what could be his legacy’s downward spiral. Mr. West, who now legally goes by Ye, is one of a few music celebrities who arguably found more success in business than music.
Most notably, he struck up a billion-dollar partnership with Adidas (ADDYY) to sell his high-end, ultra-popular Yeezy apparel. This deal alone reportedly contributed $1.5 billion to Ye’s net worth. But after an onslaught of recent antisemitic comments, Mr. West is watching his net worth crumble as Adidas and other brands sever ties with the musical artist.
In a formal statement, Adidas announced that it’s cutting ties with Ye, as Adidas “does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech.”
This is no small decision for Adidas, as Yeezy products currently make up 8% of the apparel company’s sales. For reference, the German-based company reported a 2021 revenue of over $21 billion, with Ye reportedly earning 15% of all Yeezy sales.
In addition to Adidas, Gap (GPS) is also cutting ties with West. Gap and Yeezy had a similar partnership in place, valued at just under $1 billion. Some celebrities are even distancing themselves from Ye, with famous athletes Aaron Donald and Jaylen Brown ending partnerships with Kanye’s sports marketing agency.
Coincidentally, this fallout is occurring just as Kanye is set to become a free agent in the music business.
His most recent album “Donda” fulfilled his last contractual agreement with Def Jam Records, which ended a decades-long agreement. And, in the wake of his comments, Ye was dropped by his talent agency, CAA.
Ironically, these announcement came weeks after Ye stated, “I can say antisemitic s—– and Adidas cannot drop me.” This debacle represents the inherent risk behind all brand relationships and the potential to rise — and fall — with the reputation of one individual.
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