German multinational corporation, Adidas AG has terminated its partnership with rapper and fashion designer Ye, formerly known as Kanye West after he made a series of antisemitic remarks, a move that knocked the musician off the Forbes list of the world’s billionaires.
Adidas put the tie-up, which has produced several hot-selling Yeezy branded sneakers, under review this month.
In a statement, the company said “Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech”.
“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”.
In a swift disclosure, Forbes magazine said the end of the deal meant Ye’s net worth shrank to $400 million. The magazine had valued his share of the Adidas partnership at $1.5 billion.
Forbes said the remainder of Ye’s wealth comes from real estate, cash, his music catalogue and a 5% stake in ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s shapewear firm, Skims.
The company further stated that ending the partnership and the production of Yeezy branded products, as well as stopping all payments to Ye and his companies, will have a “short-term negative impact” of up to 250 million euros ($248.90 million) on net income this year.
It is imperative to note that in recent months, Ye has courted controversy by publicly ending major corporate tie-ups and making outbursts on social media against other celebrities. More so, his Twitter and Instagram accounts were restricted, with the social media platforms removing some of his online posts that users condemned as antisemitic.
West, in the now-deleted Instagram posts earlier this year, accused Adidas and U.S. apparel retailer Gap Inc of failing to build contractually promised permanent stores for products from his Yeezy fashion line.
The rapper also accused Adidas of stealing his designs for its own products.
In a recent statement, Gap, which had ended its partnership with Ye in September, said it was taking immediate steps to remove Yeezy Gap products from its stores and that it had shut down YeezyGap.com.
The statement said “Antisemitism, racism and hate in any form are inexcusable and not tolerated in accordance with our values”.
It could be recalled that Adidas hijacked Ye from rival Nike Inc in 2013 and agreed to a new long-term partnership in 2016 in what the company then called “the most significant partnership created between a non-athlete and a sports brand.”
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