The Anti-Defamation League is urging Adidas to end its partnership with Kanye West — who has changed his name to Ye — after the rapper and fashion designer made several antisemitic comments. Ye was also restricted on Twitter and Instagram earlier this month, after sharing antisemitic and offensive statements on the social media platforms.
The ADL is “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,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL, in a letter to Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted and the company’s board.
Adidas began its partnership with the rapper in 2016, calling it “the most significant partnership ever created between an athletic brand and a non-athlete.” The partnership led to a massively popular shoe line.
CBS News has reached out to both Adidas and representatives for Ye and is awaiting a response.
Earlier this month, Ye tweeted a threat that he would go “death [sic] con 3” on Jewish people. He also posted a screenshot of a text exchange with Sean “Diddy” Combs in which he suggested Combs was being controlled by Jews. He was promptly restricted on both platforms, but has access to his Twitter account again.
Ye also criticized the so-called “Jewish underground media mafia” during an interview with Chris Cuomo on NewsNation this month. He also faced backlash for wearing a “White Lives Matter” at his fashion show in Paris.
“Two weeks ago, after he wore a White Lives Matter shirt, Adidas said he was under review. At this point, what more do you need to review?” Greenblatt writes.
Greenblatt said Adidas is set to release a shoe from the line in the “run-up to the anniversary of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre on Oct. 27 – the most violent antisemitic attack in U.S. history.” In 2018, a gunman opened fire on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 men and women for being Jewish.
Greenblatt pointed to a rise in anti-Semitism incidents in the U.S., saying that “such statements [by Ye] are more than damning – they are dangerous.”
The ADL, an anti-hate organization founded in 1913 “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all,” found antisemitic incidents in the U.S. hit an all-time high of 2,717 in 2021, the highest on record since its tracking began in 1979. Antisemitic incidents include assaults, harassment and vandalism.
The incidents of antisemitism have already led to the termination of several relationships. JPMorgan Chase sent a letter to Ye ending their relationship, after he publicly said he was going to cut off ties with the bank. He was also dropped from LeBron James’ talk show “The Shop,” after taping an episode earlier this month.
Ye told Bloomberg News that he was terminating his partnership with Gap Inc. His Yeezy x Gap apparel is still available for purchase online. CBS News has reached out to Gap for comment and is awaiting response.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism also created a petition this week to urge Adidas to end its relationship with Ye.