Gap, Adidas sever partnerships with Kanye West over antisemitic remarks

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Apparel chain Gap Inc. said on Tuesday it was taking immediate steps to remove products from its Yeezy Gap line created in partnership with Kanye West and has shut down YeezyGap.com following the rapper’s antisemitic comments.

This comes shortly after Adidas ended its partnership with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, over his offensive and antisemitic remarks, the latest company to cut ties with Ye and a decision that the German sportswear company said would hit its bottom line.

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday. “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.”

The company faced pressure to cut ties with Ye, with celebrities and others on social media urging Adidas to act. It said at the beginning of the month that it was placing its lucrative sneaker deal with the rapper under review.

Latest firm to cut connections

Adidas said Tuesday that it conducted a “thorough review” and would immediately stop production of its line of Yeezy products and stop payments to Ye and his companies. The sportswear company said it was expected to take a hit of up to 250 million euros ($338.5 million Cdn) to its net income this year from the move.

The move by Adidas, whose CEO, Kasper Rorsted, is stepping down next year, comes after Ye was suspended from Twitter and Instagram this month over antisemitic posts that the social networks said violated their policies.

He recently suggested slavery was a choice and called the COVID-19 vaccine the “mark of the beast,” among other comments. He was also criticized for wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt to his Yeezy collection show in Paris.

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Dropped by his agent

Ye’s talent agency, CAA, dropped him, and the MRC studio announced Monday that it is shelving a complete documentary about him.

The Balenciaga fashion house cut ties with Ye last week, according to Women’s Wear Daily. JPMorganChase and Ye have ended their business relationship, although the banking breakup was in the works even before Ye’s antisemitic comments.

In recent weeks, Ye has also ended his company’s association with Gap and has told Bloomberg that he plans to cut ties with his corporate suppliers.

After he was suspended from Twitter and Facebook, Ye offered to buy conservative social network Parler.

The rapper, who has won 24 Grammy Awards, has earned a reputation less for his music and more for stirring up controversy since 2016, when he was hospitalized in Los Angeles because of what his team called stress and exhaustion. It was later revealed that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Jewish groups have pointed to the danger of the rapper’s comments at a time of rising antisemitism. Such incidents in the U.S. reached an all-time high last year, the Anti-Defamation League said in a letter to Adidas last week urging it to break with Ye.

Demonstrators on a Los Angeles overpass on Saturday unfurled a banner praising Ye’s antisemitic comments, prompting an outcry on social media as celebrities and others said they stand with Jewish people.

Jewish groups welcomed Adidas’ decision but said the step was overdue. The World Jewish Congress noted that during the Second World War, Adidas factories “produced supplies and weapons for the Nazi regime, using slave labour.”

In Germany, where Adidas is headquartered, the head of the country’s main Jewish group welcomed the company’s decision but said the “step was overdue.”

“I would have liked a clear stance earlier from a German company that also was entangled with the Nazi regime,” said Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, in a statement. “Adidas has done a lot to distance itself from its past and, like many sports brands, is one of those companies that conduct big campaigns against antisemitism and racism. That’s why an earlier separation from Kanye West would have been appropriate.”

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Rapper Kanye West, is locked out of Twitter and Instagram. Now he has proposed buying Parler, the social media platform popular among American conservatives. Stacy Lee Kong is a Toronto-based writer, editor and cultural critic. She is the the founder of Friday Things, a weekly pop culture newsletter. She spoke with guest host Eli Glasner about Kanye’s latest move.



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