For years, Kanye West – who prefers to be known as Ye – has had a very public and very polarising struggle with his mental health. Some pundits argue that we should not judge someone who is clearly suffering, even if their net worth is over one billion USD. But others say that his fame does not excuse him for his actions and statements, and that despite his issues, he is still abusing his platform. This debate has raged on for years, but this week, the business world made its feelings quite clear. After Ye made a series of antisemitic statements, he has been dropped by just about every major brand he has been working with over the last few years or decades. The following is a summary of the fallout.
Ari Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor, an entertainment and media agency that owns the UFC, called on companies that work with Ye to end ties with him, saying in an opinion piece in the Financial Times last week: “Those who continue to do business with West are giving his misguided hate an audience. There should be no tolerance anywhere for West’s antisemitism. This is a moment in history where the stakes are high, and being open about our values, and living them, is essential. Silence and inaction are not an option”.
The following is an excerpt from the company’s statement:
“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.
After a thorough review, the company has taken the decision to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies. Adidas will stop the Adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect.
This is expected to have a short-term negative impact of up to €250 million on the company’s net income in 2022, given the high seasonality of the fourth quarter”.
Ye’s Donda Sports agency has signed some high-profile athletes in recent years. Aaron Donald announced on Tuesday that he’s parting with Kanye West’s Donda Sports in the aftermath of the rapper’s antisemitic remarks.
The Los Angeles Rams All-Pro announced his decision on Twitter. A minute later, Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown likewise announced his departure from Donda Sports, a day after he declared that he was sticking with West’s sports agency. Donald cited West’s “displays of hate and antisemitism” as the impetus for his decision.
“The recent comments and displays of hate and antisemitism are the exact opposite of how we choose to live our lives and raise our children,” Donald wrote. “We find them to be irresponsible and go against everything we believe in as a family.”
Ye’s Twitter and Instagram accounts have been locked following his antisemitic posts.
Balenciaga, CAA, Gap, JPMorgan Chase, and MRC Entertainment are also no longer working with Ye. That list is expected to grow in the days and weeks to come.