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Adidas Weighed Risk of Relationship With Ye For Years

  • Adidas has discussed the risks of a relationship with Ye as far back as 2018.
  • The company ended its ties with the rapper and designer in October.

Adidas cut its ties with Ye — formerly known as Kanye West — in October, but the pair’s relationship has reportedly been a topic of discussion for a while. 

As far back as 2018, the company’s chief executive Kasper Rorsted and senior leaders discussed the risk of continuing their links to Ye, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

In a presentation to board members that year, a group including Rorsted highlighted mitigation strategies including ending the relationship, but senior executives decided to share various proposals with Ye instead. 

  • Analysts estimate around 8% of Adidas’ annual sales came from the Yeezy partnership.
  • Ye asked for more money and control during a September meeting this year. 
  • Adidas agreed to some of his demands — including offering to continue the partnership through at least 2026

During the September meeting, Ye allegedly showed executives clips from an adult video and accused Adidas of stealing his designs. 

Not So Yeezy

Adidas decided to end the relationship just one month later after Ye made antisemitic comments — and not long after he wore a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt at his fashion show. 

The company called his comments “unacceptable, hateful, and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect, and fairness.” 

Dropping Ye is expected to bring a $247 million hit to Adidas’ net income. 

Rorsted stepped down earlier this month.