Adidas plans to sell Yeezy stock from axed Kanye West deal and donate proceeds

‘Burning the goods is not the solution,’ Adidas’s chief executive Bjorn Gulden said

Peony Hirwani
Friday 12 May 2023 04:28 BST
Adidas ends partnership with Kanye West amid antisemitism backlash

Adidas plans to sell trainers from its axed partnership with Kanye West and donate some of the money to charity.

The German sportswear giant announced it was ending production of Yeezy branded products with “immediate effect” at the end of October last year after West, who legally changed his name to Ye, made antisemitic remarks on social media and in interviews.

Cutting ties with Ye’s popular trainer brand reportedly cost Adidas approximately £351m in lost sales in the first three months of this year.

The company has said the break-up could reduce its earnings by £439m in the coming year and it reportedly has some £1.05bn worth of unsold Yeezy shoes in storage.

At Adidas’s annual general meeting in Fuerth, Germany, on Thursday (11 May), its chief executive Bjorn Gulden said destroying Yeezy stock is not the answer.

In a translated version of his comments provided by Adidas, Gulden said: “For the last four months we have been trying to find solutions on what to do with it.

“Burning the goods is not the solution.

“Now, talking to all the NGOs, and a lot of organisations that have been hurt by Kanye, they all say, no, that’s not the solution.

(Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for ADIDAS)

“What we are trying to do now over time is to sell parts of this inventory and donate money to the organisations that are helping us and that were also hurt by Kanye’s statements.

“When we will do that and how we will do that is not clear yet, but we are working on those things.

“But I think burning the products is not the point.

“And we will update you as soon as that decision is made.”

The company previously condemned West’s antisemitic comments as “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous”.

Earlier this month, Gulden said that losing the Yeezy brand “is of course hurting us”, after Adidas’s break-up with Yeezy contributed to the firm’s first annual loss in 31 years.

Ye was banned from Twitter and Instagram in late 2022 over a number of antisemitic comments, which also saw him dropped from brand partnerships with both Adidas and Balenciaga. CAA, one of the biggest celebrity talent agencies in the US, also cut ties with the musician.

In the same year, Ye appeared on right-wing commentator Alex Jones’ show Infowars, during which he made the shocking declaration that he “likes Hitler”.

The Donda rapper’s comments sparked public outrage, with many public figures speaking out against his actions and wider cases of antisemitism.

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