Adidas CEO backtracks after saying Kanye West didn’t mean Antisemitic comments

World News

Adidas CEO Bjorn Gulden has apologised for suggesting during a podcast that rapper Ye, formerly Kanye West, did not mean the antisemitic statements he made last year, which resulted in the sportswear brand cutting ties with the ex-billionaire last year.
adidas + KANYE WEST New Partnership Announcement

Kanye West and his Yeezy brand were dropped by Adidas last year following the rapper’s antisemitic remarks on social media.


Key Takeaways
  • Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted Thursday that he had spoken with Gulden, who “apologized for his misstatement.”
  • Gulden also told Greenblatt that his company is “committed to fighting antisemitism” and opposes the “ugly hate” expressed by West.
  • According to Bloomberg, Adidas has confirmed Friday that it was in touch with the ADL, and its decision to sever ties with the controversial rapper “was absolutely the right one” and the company’s stance has not changed.
  • Gulden took over as Adidas’ CEO earlier this year, after the sports apparel giant had ended its partnership with West and his Yeezy brand.
News Peg

Last week, Gulden appeared on a podcast called “In Good Company,” where he spoke about the controversy surrounding West and Adidas’ decision to drop him. Gulden said he recognized that West made some remarks that weren’t “that good,” but he didn’t think the rapper “meant what he said” about Jewish people. Gulden added that he doesn’t think West is “a bad person, it just came across that way.” Gulden then heaped praise on the rapper, calling him “one of the most creative people in the world, both in music and . . . street culture.”

Key Background

Adidas and several other major brands snapped ties with West last year after the rapper made a series of antisemitic comments on social media. West’s posts led to the suspension of his accounts from all major social media platforms. After this, the rapper appeared on various podcasts and interviews where he doubled down on his remarks and even praised Adolf Hitler.


Earlier this year, Adidas began the process of selling off its remaining inventory of Yeezy merchandise. In its earnings results for the second quarter of 2023, Adidas said Yeezys generated around $437 million (€400 million) in revenue. This was “largely in line” with Yeezy sales during the same quarter in 2022, showing that the controversy had done little to dampen interest in the brand.

These sales were only carried out through the company’s website and app, and the company said it plans to donate a “significant amount” of this money to “selected organizations working to combat discrimination and hate, including racism and antisemitism.” Despite this, the company said it had taken a $437 million (€400 million) hit in the first half of 2023 from the “discontinuation of the regular Yeezy business.”

This artice was originally published on and all figures are in USD.

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