After weeks of Kanye West making antisemitic and controversial remarks, companies including Adidas, Gap, CAA and Balenciaga have severed ties with the rapper.
Kanye West is seen on October 21, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Following Adidas’ announcement, shoe retailer Foot Locker said Tuesday it “not be supporting any future Yeezy product drops, and we have instructed our retail operators to pull any existing product from our shelves and digital sites.”
Though Gap severed its partnership with West in September when he accused the brand of breaking their contract, the retailer announced Tuesday it has shut down its Yeezy-branded website and is “taking immediate steps to remove Yeezy Gap product from our stores,” as “antisemitism, racism and hate in any form are inexcusable and not tolerated in accordance with our values.”
After mounting pressure, sportswear giant Adidas announced Tuesday it was cutting ties with West, saying: “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.”
Major talent agency CAA stopped working with West—whose legal name is Ye—within the last month, several news outlets reported Monday, citing unnamed sources.
Studio MRC said Monday it would not air a completed documentary about West, with executives saying, “We cannot support any content that amplifies his platform.”
Luxury fashion house Balenciaga—which was closely tied to West, and had West walk in a recent fashion show—said Friday it “has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist,” making it the first major company to publicly cut ties.
West is also no longer with record label Def Jam—a Universal Music Group subsidiary—as he has fulfilled his contract, Forbes reported Thursday, and his own label, G.O.O.D. Music, is no longer linked to Def Jam, the New York Times reported Monday.
Jeremy Zimmer, CEO and co-founder of talent agency UTA, told staff in a memo on Sunday to “please support the boycott of Kanye West,” and the Endeavor talent agency’s CEO Ari Emanuel said companies that make money from West like Spotify and Apple should drop the rapper—though it’s not clear what relationship the two companies have with West.
West has made repeated anti-Semitic remarks over the last month, including saying he would go “death con 3 on Jewish people,” a remark that got him restricted on Twitter. West was also restricted on Instagram after sharing a post in which he accused Sean “Diddy” Combs of being controlled by Jewish people. Last month, West ended what was supposed to be a 10-year-long partnership with Gap, after he accused them of breaking their contract. However, Gap sent out an email recently promoting its Yeezy Gap line. As West began making inflammatory comments at the start of this month, it was reported bank JPMorgan Chase severed ties with him, but West was informed of the bank’s decision before his recent bizarre actions began, sources told the Associated Press. The family of George Floyd said last week it intended to sue West for $250 million for falsely claiming on a podcast that Floyd was killed by fentanyl.
Adidas, who has distributed West’s Yeezy brand since 2013 and is responsible for a large portion of his wealth, had until Tuesday remained silent since saying a few weeks ago it was reviewing its relationship with West. On Thursday, the Anti-Defamation League called on Adidas to drop West. Demands for the brand to cut ties with West intensified over the weekend, when a small group of anti-Semitic protestors in Los Angeles were spotted holding signs that said “Kanye West was right about the Jews.” Members of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus responded Monday by saying “any company—including Adidas—that continues to do business with Kanye West is party to this attack on Jews.”
West is worth $2 billion, according to Forbes estimates, though he could lose his billionaire status if Adidas drops him.
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Kanye West Anti-Semitism Backlash Gets More Powerful, Political—As Adidas Stays Mum (Forbes)
Kanye West’s Anti-Semitic, Controversial Behavior—Here’s Everything He’s Said In Recent Weeks (Forbes)
Kanye West Dropped By Balenciaga—First Company To Sever Ties Amid Controversy (Forbes)