Kanye ‘didn’t mean what he said’ about Jews, Adidas CEO says
Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden said he doesn’t think Kanye West “meant what he said” when the rapper spewed antisemitic comments last year.
A recent podcast interview by Gulden praised West, also known as Ye, for being “one of the most creative people in the world.” Gulden said Ye’s statements were not good, which led Adidas to cancel the contract and withdraw the product, referencing the end of the Yeezy line.
It’s unfortunate because I don’t think he meant what he said, and I don’t think he’s a bad person. As a Norwegian born with English not being his first language, Gulden said it came across that way. This meant losing one of the most successful collaborations in history … very sad.”
In November 2022, shortly after Adidas ended its partnership with West, Gulden became CEO. According to Adidas, its position hasn’t changed and that “ending the partnership was an appropriate decision.”
A different podcast aired West’s tirade against Jews, claiming he could say antisemitic s— and Adidas would not drop him, and threatening to “go death con 3 on Jewish people”. The comments generated global outrage, and Adidas terminated their nine-year business relationship a few days later.
adidas had put the partnership on hold after he wore a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt in public prior to those comments. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the phrase has been used by White supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan.
Following the dissolution of the Yeezy shoe line, Adidas suffered a huge financial hit. Due to the company’s inability to sell the designer’s Yeezy clothing and shoes, it expects to lose $1.3 billion in revenue this year.
However, strong sales of leftover Yeezy inventory have helped it recoup some of its losses. According to the company, it now expects to make a €450 million ($491 million) operating loss in 2023, down from a €700 million ($764 million) loss forecast in March.