In a recent investigation by The New York Times, more details have emerged about Kanye West's conduct during his partnership with Adidas. The rapper, now known as Ye, reportedly drew a swastika on a shoe design and told a Jewish employee to kiss a photo of Hitler. These actions were revealed by current and former employees of Adidas, as well as through the examination of undisclosed documents.
Ye's partnership with Adidas was one of the most lucrative celebrity-fashion partnerships, generating over $1 billion in sales annually. However, Adidas eventually cut ties with Ye in October 2022 due to a series of offensive and antisemitic comments made by the rapper, which led to him being blocked from his social media accounts.
The investigation by The New York Times found that the Yeezy partnership was "fraught from the start." At their first meeting, Ye expressed dissatisfaction with the shoe designs and fabric samples by drawing a swastika on one of them. This action is considered highly offensive and illegal in Germany, where Adidas is based.
Another troubling detail revealed by the investigation is that Ye told a Jewish manager at Adidas to kiss a picture of Hitler every day. The report concluded that Adidas executives tolerated Ye's erratic and offensive behavior due to the profits generated from sales of Yeezy merchandise.
Despite facing allegations of antisemitism from former colleagues, Ye's lawyers recently filed to secure the trademark rights for the term "YEWS" across various sectors. Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden defended Ye, stating that he believes the rapper had been misunderstood and is not a bad person.
Adidas initially planned to burn its remaining Yeezy stock but instead decided to sell the sneakers and use the profits to make "substantial donations" to causes combating antisemitism and other forms of racism. The company has not specified the exact proportion of profits that will be donated.
Adidas stated that it has "no tolerance for hate speech and offensive behavior," which is why the company terminated its partnership with Ye. Ye and his representatives have not responded to requests for comment from Insider or The New York Times.
In summary, The New York Times investigation revealed disturbing details about Kanye West's conduct during his partnership with Adidas, including drawing a swastika and making antisemitic comments. Adidas eventually cut ties with Ye due to his offensive behavior, and the company has pledged to make donations to combat antisemitism and racism with the profits from selling remaining Yeezy stock.