THE DRAMA IN A NUTSHELL
“Well, he did dare them to do it.” Fortune
In a recent interview Ye said that he could “say anti-Semitic things and Adidas can’t drop me.” In fact, he said it twice for effect. His comments came after a series of controversial moves, including donning a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt during the Paris Fashion Week and making fatphobic comments about the beloved Lizzo (we’re still not over the Taylor Swift outburst either). He has progressed to making anti-Jewish remarks on social media, news and podcasts (which got him quickly banned from Twitter). Ye’s huge platform makes comments like this a dangerous tinderpoint for hate - as we saw with a notorious white supremacy group boldly posting a ‘Kanye is right’ banner in LA this week. As Jewish Iraqi writer Hen Mazzig shared, “[Ye’s behaviour] taps into age old anti-semitic tropes…The Jewish community know what this means for us, and it all ends in violence.”
Following the outbursts, brands quickly began to distance themselves from Ye, pulling out of longstanding collaborations, business relationships and partnerships. Adidas was the most notable, unfortunately for its slowness in response despite open letters to top executives shared extensively across the internet. Finally the decision was made to pull out of a deal worth $1.5 billion. The Yeezy brand has been a key player in the brand’s growth and success and it is estimated that the decision will hit Adidas’ net income by nearly $250 million in 2022. Various others have cut ties with Ye including Balenciaga, Gap, TJ Maxx, Foot Locker and most recently Peloton. It’s noteworthy too that it’s not just brands creating distance from Ye, but also his former talent agency, CAA - and Madame Tussaud’s even announced that they’re removing his wax figure from the London museum! Of course the internet has also been poking fun creating fake announcements from brands who aren’t involved with Ye in any way.