Anti-Semitism: Adidas boss regrets controversial comments about Kanye West

The Adidas Group boss, rocked by his split with Kanye West last year, was forced to apologize after appearing to front the rapper’s anti-Semitic statements.

• Read more: Adidas: “Positive Impact” After Breakup With Kanye West

Bjorn Gulden, boss of the three-striped brand, expressed regret on his part for what he described as a “misreport”.

He expressed his dismay to the head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The latter, Jonathan Greenblatt, made them public on Thursday evening in a message on X (formerly Twitter) and the Adidas team confirmed the apology on Friday.

Mr. Gulden made the criticism last week after an “In Good Company” podcast in which he said Kanye West, now known as Ye, was not actually referring to anti-Semitic statements he made last year.

In other public slip-ups, Ye wrote on Twitter in the fall of 2022 that he was going to attack Jews in a post that was later deleted by the microblogging site.

The controversy prompted the device manufacturer to abruptly end a lucrative collaboration with the rapper and his “Yeezy” sneaker collection.

Adidas “absolutely opposes the vitriolic hate expressed by Ye” last fall, Mr. Gulden reiterated in his apology.

The Norwegian, who took over Adidas at the start of the year, received the trophy, poisoning the group’s reputation and finances. A loss of 1.2 billion euros resulted from the cessation of marketing of Yeezy sneakers.

“Our decision to end our partnership with Ye is entirely correct due to his unacceptable comments and behavior,” an Adidas spokesperson said in a message to AFP on Friday.

“Our position has not changed: hate, whatever it is, has no place in sport or society, and we are committed to fighting it,” the source said.

Adidas has begun pulling some Yeezy merchandise off the shelves.

The first wave in May generated sales of around 400 million euros, and the results of the second run in August will be reported later.

A portion of the proceeds, 110 million euros, went to associations fighting racism and anti-Semitism, including the ADL, as Adidas previously announced.

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