Wednesday December 6, 2023

Adidas CEO Apologizes for Defending Ye’s Antisemitic Comments

  • Earlier in the week, Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden said he didn’t think that Ye “meant” the antisemitic comments he made.
  • Adidas cut ties with the rapper formerly known as Kanye West in October 2022.
A view of the inside of Adidas' Asia-Pacific headquarters in Shanghai.
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Earlier this week, Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden defended Ye, saying that he doesn’t believe the rapper formerly known as Kanye West “meant what he said” when he made antisemitic comments that caused the athletic brand to cut ties with the Yeezy line of sneakers.

Now, Gulden is backtracking on that statement, issuing an apology through Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt on X and reiterating “that Adidas is committed to fighting #antisemitism & is completely opposed to the ugly hate expressed by @kanyewest.”

Adidas cemented those sentiments through a statement Friday morning: “Our decision to end our partnership with Ye because of his unacceptable comments and behavior was the right one… Our stance has not changed: Hate of any kind has no place in sports or society, and we remain committed to fighting it.”

After cutting ties with Ye in October 2022, the German company saw a 1% year-over-year drop in Q1 2023 revenue — though that beat Wall Street’s projections.

Since then, Adidas has been selling through its remaining Yeezy inventory, generating more than $437 million in revenue. The company plans to donate at least $120 million of those proceeds to anti-hate advocacy groups, including the Foundation To Combat Anti-Semitism, run by New England Patriots and Revolution owner Robert Kraft.

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