Adidas pressured to drop Kanye West after more anti-Semitic remarks

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While Balenciaga and JPMorgan Chase have cut ties with Kanye West after repeated anti-Semitic remarks, West’s biggest corporate benefactor, Adidas, remains remarkably silent.

But the German sportswear giant may not be able to ignore the controversy for much longer after Kanye West mocked the company saying he could be as anti-Semitic as he wanted and still have the retailer’s support.

“I can say anti-Semitic things and Adidas can’t let me. Now what? Now what?” Kanye is seen asking in a short video clip from the October 16 episode of Drink Champs, a hip-hop community podcast hosted by NORE and DJ EFN, which has since been removed.

The video has sparked new calls for the German sportswear giant to ditch Kanye West and the hashtag #BoycottAdidas has been trending on Twitter since the clip was posted on October 21.

Kanye West was recently banned from Instagram and Twitter, after saying he would do “Death Con 3 on the JEWISH PEOPLE”, and has since continued an anti-Semitic attack on “Jewish media” and “Jewish Zionists”, for allegedly benefiting of blacks in the music industry.

Adidas has already put its deal with Yeezy under review following West’s controversial YZY show on October 3 at Paris Fashion Week, where models walked in T-shirts that read “White Lives Matter.” Adidas said on Oct. 7 that it would review its problematic partnership, noting that “we will continue to co-manage the current product during this period,” Adidas said in a statement.

But as Adidas ponders removing Kanye West and the highly profitable Yeezy brand from its product offering, the company launched the adidas yeezy boost 350 v2 in a new “Salt” color on Sunday, which has already been bought and resold 899 times on the StockX online reseller market.

The troubled future of Adidas

The growing advertising crisis comes at a bad time for Adidas.

in his last third quarter earnings report Posted last Thursday, Adidas lowered its forecast for this year’s operating margin to 4% from 7%, due to excess inventory that it will have to sell at a discount. Adidas warned that unsold products were piling up in warehouses due to deteriorating store traffic trends in Greater China and slowing demand in Western markets since September.

The news sent Adidas shares tumbling as much as 9.1%, erasing all gains made during CEO Kasper Rørsted’s six-year tenure and leaving them with a market value roughly one-sixth that of US rival Nike. . Faced with declining profits, Adidas may be inclined to keep Kanye West on its payroll, as the Yeezy line accounts for an outsized percentage of Adidas sales.

Although Adidas does not report specific sales figures for the Yeezy deal, which began in 2013 and expires in 2026, Morningstar analyst David Swartz estimates Yeezy sales for Adidas to be around $2 billion annually, which could represent 10% of Adidas’s total sales.

“Ten years ago, Adidas was struggling in the US, the largest sportswear market. Thanks, in part, to Yeezy, their business in the United States has recovered,” Swartz said. “He’s helped make his business in North America relevant again, and made Adidas relevant in the collector market and probably allowed him to get a demo that he’s been missing.”

Kanye West has remained vague about the future of his partnership with Adidas. tell the reporters outside her daughter North West’s basketball game on Oct. 22, that “we’re going through a legal process right now, so anything can happen.”

adidas did not respond to Fortune’s request for comments by the time of publication.

An antisemitic spokesman

The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish NGO, has started a campaign called #RunAwayFromHate to allow people to contact Adidas directly and demand that the company condemn West’s comments.

The ADL wrote in an open letter to Adidas that “In light of Kanye West’s increasingly strident anti-Semitic comments in recent weeks, we were disturbed to learn that Adidas plans to continue to release new products under its Yeezy brand without any apparent acknowledgment of the controversy surrounding his most recent comments.”

They point out that while Adidas has condemned West’s anti-Semitism, hate groups such as White Lives Matter and the Goyim Defense League are celebrating and promoting Ye’s comments.

“We urge Adidas to reconsider supporting the Ye product line and issue a statement clarifying that the company and the Adidas community have no tolerance for anti-Semitism at all,” the ADL letter said.

Kanye West also recently made an offer to buy the alt-tech social media platform Parler. “In a world where conservative views are considered controversial, we must ensure that we have the right to express ourselves freely,” Ye said in a press release on Oct. 17.

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