Kanye West, now known as Ye, has had a storied history in the fashion world, mainly through his collaboration with the sportswear giant Adidas.
However, an investigation by The New York Times has uncovered disturbing behavior that ultimately led to Adidas cutting ties with the rapper, marking the end of a highly lucrative partnership.
For more than a decade, the collaboration between Ye and Adidas was a cash cow, raking in over $1 billion in sales annually.
This partnership was considered one of the most successful in celebrity-fashion collaborations.
However, it all unraveled in October 2022 when Ye became embroiled in a series of public antisemitic outbursts and offensive posts, which resulted in him being banned from his social media accounts.
The New York Times has delved into the relationship between Ye and Adidas, speaking with current and former brand employees and examining numerous undisclosed documents.
The investigation revealed a deeply troubled partnership right from the outset.
In one shocking incident during their first meeting, Ye expressed dissatisfaction with the shoe designs and fabric samples by drawing a swastika on one of the sketches.
Additionally, he instructed a Jewish staff member to kiss a photograph of Adolf Hitler, actions that are illegal and deeply offensive in Germany, where Adidas is headquartered.
The profits generated by the sales of Yeezy merchandise allowed Adidas to tolerate Ye’s erratic and offensive behavior for an extended period.
Despite facing fresh allegations of antisemitism over the summer, Ye’s lawyers sought to secure trademark rights for the term “YEWS” across various sectors.
Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden attempted to defend Ye, suggesting that the rapper was misunderstood.
However, this did not deter the sportswear company from terminating the partnership.
Adidas initially planned to burn its remaining Yeezy stock but later decided to sell the sneakers and donate the profits to causes combating antisemitism and other forms of racism.
While the company has not specified the exact proportion of profits to be presented, the move signifies a strong stand against hate speech and offensive behavior.
Adidas made it clear that it has “no tolerance for hate speech and offensive behavior,” which was the primary reason behind the termination of the Adidas Yeezy partnership.
Ye’s representatives have not yet commented on the situation, and the rapper has not responded to requests for comment from The New York Times.