‘The world is watching’: Celebrities pressure Adidas to cut ties with Kanye West amid rapper’s antisemitic comments

‘I could say antisemitic things and Adidas can’t drop me,’ said West in a since-deleted podcast episode

Meredith Clark
New York
Tuesday 25 October 2022 06:51 BST
Kanye West appears to show porn video to Adidas executives during business meeting

Many celebrities have called upon Adidas to sever its partnership with Kanye West following the rapper’s repeated antisemitic remarks.

The German sportswear company has remained silent after West – who legally changed his name to Ye – taunted Adidas in a since-deleted Drink Champs podcast. It was pulled from YouTube after West made “false” and “hurtful” statements about George Floyd’s death during the interview.

However, a clip from the interview resurfaced on social media on Friday 21 October. In the video, which has gained more than four million views on Twitter, West claims he could make antisemitic comments and he would still have the support of Adidas.

“The thing about me and Adidas is, I could literally say antisemitic sh*t and they can’t drop me,” the rapper is seen saying in the video. “I could say antisemitic things and Adidas can’t drop me. Now what?”

The viral video has since incited celebrities to take action on social media and call on Adidas to end its 10-year partnership deal with West.

“@adidas the silence speaks for itself,” tweeted retired US Army lieutenant colonel Alexander Vindman on Sunday. “You are absolutely aware of this issue. You have chosen to say nothing either for profit or sympathy for @kanyewest cause, the promotion of hate.”

Actor Josh Gad also reposted the viral video to his Twitter account on Friday, adding in the caption: “This is not a good person. This is a person who’s dangerous rhetoric continues to go unchecked. Hey @adidas, is this right? Can he single out a single faith and group of people with hatred and vitriol and it doesn’t matter? Asking for a friend.”

Thor star Kat Dennings tweeted on Sunday, “The world is watching, @adidas,” while Food Network host Valerie Bertinelli wrote: “Hey @adidas you up?”

Meanwhile, Broad City star and co-creator Abbi Jacobson also criticised Adidas for remaining silent. She shared a picture of an offensive banner, which was hung over a busy Los Angeles overpass by an antisemitic and white supremacist group.

“This is in Los Angeles this weekend,” she captioned the Instagram story. “A brand like @adidas still working with someone who perpetuates hate speech and antisemitism like Kanye isn’t OK. It is dangerous and f***ing irresponsible. What are you doing @adidas??”

Celebrities condemn Adidas for remaining silent amid Kanye West controversy
Celebrities condemn Adidas for remaining silent amid Kanye West controversy (Instagram / Abbi Jacobson)

While the sportswear brand has not confirmed the current status of its partnership deal with West, Adidas announced earlier this month that its relationship with the rapper is “under review”.

On 6 October, the athletic company said in a statement that it would be placing the Adidas Yeezy partnership, which began in 2013, under review after “repeated efforts to privately resolve the situation”.

In the statement, Adidas acknowledged that its partnership with Yeezy has been “one of the most successful collaborations in our industry’s history,” and that it is proud of the team that has “worked tirelessly” throughout the partnership with West, and of the “iconic products that were born from it”.

However, Adidas also said that “all successful partnerships are rooted in mutual respect and shared values”.

“After repeated efforts to privately resolve the situation, we have taken the decision to place the partnership under review. We will continue to co-manage the current product during this period,” the sneaker brand said.

In 2015, Adidas marked its first collaboration with Kanye West with the release of the Adidas Yeezy Boost 750 sneaker. The rapper’s contract with Adidas is set expire in 2026.

The Independent has contacted Adidas for comment.

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