Adidas under pressure for anti-Jewish outbursts over Kanye West

Sportswear giant Adidas was under mounting pressure on Monday to sever ties with Kanye West following a series of anti-Semitic outbursts from the controversial rapper.

Human rights activists have called out the German firm for its continued silence over comments from West – officially known as Ye – that have increasingly isolated him from the companies and brands that have made him fabulously wealthy.

“Thousands of signatures and still no word @adidas? Your silence is a danger to Jews,” tweeted Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.

“We cannot allow Yes’s #anti-Semitism to be normalized – we must all demand Adidas #RunAwayFromHate by condemning his racist rhetoric and re-evaluating their partnership.”

The company announced this month that it was reviewing its relationship with West after he appeared at a fashion show in Paris wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “White Lives Matter.”

The phrase is a dog whistle for right-wing groups in the United States and a reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Days later, he was banned from Twitter and Instagram for threatening to “bring death to Jewish people.”

Over the weekend, a banner reading “Kanye is right about the Jews” and “Honk if you know” was hoisted over a busy freeway in Los Angeles.

Several activists were photographed saluting “Heil Hitler”. On Monday, one of Hollywood’s biggest talent agencies, CAA, said it was dumping West.

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Film and television producer MRC said it was shelving an already-completed documentary about West.
“We cannot support content that expands its platform,” the company said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Other entertainment leaders, including Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, urged all companies to sever ties with West.

“Those who continue to do business with West are giving voice to his misguided hatred,” Emanuel wrote in the Financial Times. “There should be no tolerance anywhere for West’s anti-Semitism.”

Last week, Paris-based fashion house Balenciaga ended ties with West, saying it “no longer has any relationship or plans for future projects related to this artist.”

West’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian appeared to join the bunch, though her tweet didn’t mention their children’s father by name.

“Hate speech is never okay or excusable,” she wrote on Twitter and Instagram Monday.

“I stand with the Jewish community and call on the horrific violence and hateful rhetoric directed at them to end immediately.”

– Illness –

Adidas did not immediately respond to inquiries from AFP on Monday.

The company, whose founders had ties to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party, announced a few weeks ago that it was reviewing its relationship with West after it was reportedly upset with how the brand was marketing its products.

“Following repeated efforts to resolve the situation privately, we have made the decision to explore the partnership,” Adidas said in a statement in early October.

West had accused Adidas of organizing marketing events and bringing back older models without his consent.

He also said the brand hired employees to work under him and organized a “Yeezy Day” without his involvement.

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The artist was linked to Nike for years, but broke up in 2013 and lent his name to Adidas when they launched their first Yeezy shoe together in 2015 – a partnership that would later make him a billionaire.

Along with Beyonce, Stella McCartney and Pharrell Williams, West was one of the top names used by Adidas to boost sales, especially online.

In announcing the review, Adidas didn’t mention recent tensions, but said its partnership with the rapper was “one of the most successful collaborations in the history of our industry” and was “rooted in mutual respect and shared values.”

West, who half-heartedly ran for President of the United States in 2020, has been open about his struggles with mental illness, but his erratic behavior remains a cause for concern.


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