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Adidas CEO defends former collaborator Kanye West

By Caitlyn Terra


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Former Adidas CMO Eric Liedtke and Ye (Kanye West) in 2016. Credits: Adidas.

A remarkable statement has been made by Adidas CEO Bjorn Gulden, who indicated in the podcast 'In Good Company' that he did not think entrepreneur, designer and artist Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) meant the anti-Semitic statements he made. Among other things, these statements by Ye caused Adidas' collaboration with the artist for the Yeezy brand to be discontinued.

Gulden did acknowledge in the podcast that the statements Ye made were not good. "I don't think he meant what he said and I don't think he is a bad person - it just came across that way," Gulden said. However, the CEO still believed that ending the partnership with Ye was the right choice.

Not only did Ye make several anti-Semitic statements in 2022, stories also emerged about Ye's possible cross-border behaviour, which former Yeezy employees had sent a letter about to Adidas management. Ye's behaviour caused several fashion companies to distance themselves from the artist. For instance, Balenciaga, Adidas, Gap ánd various second-hand platforms issued statements that they would no longer collaborate with Ye or sell Yeezy's products.

Stopping the collaboration with Ye could cost Adidas 700 million euros, it emerged earlier this year. That would only apply if Yeezy's already produced items were not sold. In the end, Adidas decided to get rid of the stock through strategic and controlled sales. The first round of sales reportedly already yielded 508 million euros.

Kanye West