top of page

Adidas terminates partnership with Kanye West ceasing YEEZY production & sales

Kanye West announcing his longterm partnership with Adidas in 2016. Image via Adidas

Kanye West has had his contract terminated by Adidas following his antisemitic comments.

"Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech," adidas said in a statement on Tuesday. "Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness."

Ye signed to Adidas at the end of 2013 and extended this partnership with his current long-term deal signed in 2016 that was meant to extend until 2026. This connection was made possible after his embittered relationship with Nike.

adidas cited: "After a thorough review, the company has taken the decision to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies. adidas will stop the Adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect."

Kanye West. Photo: Jamel Toppin for Forbes

“This is expected to have a short-term negative impact of up to €250 million on the company’s net income in 2022 given the high seasonality of the fourth quarter,” the statement says.The first product from the collaboration was released in 2015, and sales are estimated to be around $2 billion annually, or 10% of Adidas's total sales, according to Fortune.

The statement says Adidas “is the sole owner of all design rights to existing products as well as previous and new colorways under the partnership.” Still, Adidas says that it’s ending all production of Yeezy-branded product. Indicating they will immediately stop the production of Yeezys but suggests the brand has the ability to continue to sell Ye’s sneaker designs without being formally partnered with him.

Ye’s battles were initially concerned in ownership over designs with Adidas. Just earlier in the year, he complained of adidas knocking off his sneakers by making Yeezy lookalikes that were generating significant revenue such as the Adilette '22 imitating the YEEZY slide model and the adiFOM Q reminiscent of the YEEZY Foam RNNR.

On October 10, Ye released the Last Week video where he’s seen with four individuals later identified as former adidas brand president Eric Liedtke, adidas chief creative officer Alasdhair Willis, Senior Vice President Torben Schumacher, and venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar. Within the video, Ye vents his frustration over the “stealing” of his designs, and compares Schumacher to a porn video due to the similarity in voices to the male individual in the film. Ye uses this as an analogy to how the brand has been improperly treating his brand and designs.

Even though adidas stood by Ye during those attacks, the brand had enough after he wore a “white lives matter” shirt at his Paris fashion show this month, placing his partnership “under review”. These shirts were later given out to homeless people in Skid Row, Los Angeles. Since the review was initiated, Adidas has faced immense backlash to terminate connection to Ye, who has since been temporarily banned from Instagram and Twitter after posting antisemitic comments.

Continuing his media tour on October 11, Kanye appeared on LeBron Jame's show The Shop in an episode which was decided by executives to not be aired due to Kanye's repeated hateful and anti-semitic remarks.

“I can say antisemetic things and Adidas can’t drop me,” Ye said in a since-removed interview on October 18 with the Drink Champs podcast. West is also facing a lawsuit for $250m from the family of George Floyd after referencing a false claim that Floyd had died from fentanyl within the same interview.

Repurcussions from his statements have been felt as many of his business partnerships have been re-evaluating their stance. Balenciaga, talent agency CAA, and Vogue magazine are just a few who have since severed ties.

More information is expected from Adidas on Nov. 9 when it posts its Q3 earnings statement, per their statement on Tuesday.

Stay tuned and sign up for email alerts for more news.

bottom of page