Adidas has cut its Yeezy partnership with Kanye West days after he showed a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt design at Paris Fashion Week.
Reporters earlier reported that Adidas said it would review the Yeezy partnership with Kanye West over his anti-semitic comments.
The German sports brand, therefore, said recent comments and actions from West, who has officially changed his name to Ye, had been “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness”, according to TheGuardian.
The company said it would take a “short-term” hit of €250m (£217m) to its income for this year after deciding to stop the brand’s business with immediate effect. It is to end production of items under West’s Yeezy brand and stop all payments to the musician and his companies.
In 2020, the partnership brought in nearly $1.7bn in revenue for Adidas, according to Bloomberg, and was due to expire in 2026.
The revenue loss will be a setback for Adidas, which recently warned that profit margins and sales were suffering as stock stacked up in warehouses due to sluggish customer demand.
West had been affiliated with Nike for years, releasing the Air Yeezy in 2009, but he parted ways with the company in 2013, dedicating his name to Adidas instead. They collaborated on the first Yeezy shoe in 2015, which helped him become a billionaire.
The cooperation included sportswear, coats, and shoes, and it appears to have been withdrawn off Adidas’ website with instant effect. However, it was the Yeezy Boost trainer that drew long lines and hefty prices, both new and used.
West was also criticised after he presented a collection at Paris Fashion Week that included T-shirts with the slogan “White Lives Matter.”
The phrase “Black Lives Matter”, which represents opposition to racism and police brutality, was widely used after George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis in the summer of 2020.
Vogue’s Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, who is global fashion editor-at-large at the fashion magazine, was among those that criticised West over the T-shirts, calling the move “hugely irresponsible.”
In response, West responded by lashing out at Ms Karefa-Johnson and posting photographs of her, mocking her appearance to his 17.9 million followers.
In a statement, Vogue said it “stands with Gabriella Karefa-Johnson”.
“She was personally targeted and bullied. It is unacceptable. Now, more than ever, voices like hers are needed and in a private meeting with Ye today she once again spoke her truth in a way she felt best, on her terms.”
The almost decade-long partnership between Adidas and West has been strained for some time.
At the centre of their collaboration is a hugely popular range of sneakers – known as Yeezy – which cost hundreds of dollars, with new releases often selling out within minutes.
In June, he accused Adidas of making a shoe that looked similar to the distinctive Yeezy design, but was not part of their deal.
Adidas said it will continue to co-manage the partnership while the review is underway.
The announcement from Adidas comes less than a month after West’s lawyers sent a letter to fashion chain Gap to say he would no longer work with the firm.
He accused Gap of failing to honour the terms of the deal, including by failing to open standalone stores for his Yeezy fashion label.
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