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Anti-Defamation League urges Adidas to cut ties with Kanye West

Kanye West photo via shutterstock
The ADL is calling on Adidas to sever ties with Ye (Kanye West).

Ye, the rapper, designer and entrepreneur formerly known as Kanye West, is coming under heavy criticism after antisemitic comments he has made in recent weeks. 

The Anti-Defamation League is urging sporting goods giant Adidas to sever ties with Ye due to what it called his “increasingly strident antisemitic remarks” during the past few weeks.” In a letter to Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted and chairman Thomas Rabe, the ADL detailed some of Ye’s remarks and said that, at a time of “rising antisemitism,” his comments are “damming” and “dangerous.”

Many other celebrities, as well as some corporations and pundits have joined ADL in calling out his hateful rhetoric,” Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO, ADL, wrote in the letter. “We hope that more companies, individuals, and political leaders will take action to show that there will be consequences for such hateful rhetoric and that they do not give Ye’s antisemitism a pass.”

On Thursday, French fashion house Balenciaga said it would no longer work on future projects with Ye, reported Women's Wear Daily.

Earlier this month, Adidas said it was reviewing its relationship with Ye but, while so doing, would continue to “co-manage” current products from his Yeezy brand.

“We are surprised and concerned that Adidas – a brand that supports inclusion and diversity – continues not only to support the Ye product line, but to release new products even as he continues to espouse hateful antisemitic ideas to his 31 million Twitter followers,” Greenblatt wrote.  “We urge Adidas to reconsider supporting the Ye product line and to issue a statement making clear that the Adidas company and community has no tolerance whatsoever for antisemitism.”

Ye’s relationship with Adidas has recently turned sour, and he has said the company hasn’t given him enough control over his brand. He has posted pictures on social media attacking Adidas board members and in early September posted a doctored image of a New York Times front page with a false report that Adidas CEO had died. But the Yeezy brand has proved a sales windfall for Adidas.

Yeezy sales for Adidas are estimated to be around $2 billion annually, potentially making up 10% of Adidas’s total sales, reported CNBC.

Ten years ago, Adidas was struggling in the U.S., the largest sportswear market,” Morningstar analyst David Swartz told CNBC. Thanks, in part, to Yeezy, its U.S. business has rebounded. “It has helped bring its North America business back to relevance, and it has made Adidas relevant in the collectors’ market and probably allows it to reach a demo that it has missed.”

In September, Ye ended his partnership with Gap Inc.

[Read More: Kanye West tells Gap he’s ending partnership; will open his own stores]

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