Adidas terminates Kanye West partnership, talent agency CAA drops him as a client

Sports apparel giant Adidas has become the latest company to cut ties with Kanye West, prompted by recent antisemitic statements made by the artist.

In a press release issued on Tuesday (October 25), Adidas said that it has ended its partnership with the rapper immediately, noting that it “does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech”.

Adidas revealed that it is ending production of Yeezy-branded products and will “stop all payments to Ye and his companies”.

The statement added: “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”.

Adidas says the move “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”.

In addition to Adidas, Hollywood talent agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has also cut ties with Kanye West.

CAA has yet to make an announcement, but a person with knowledge of the situation reportedly told Los Angeles Times about the move on Monday (October 24). Other news outlets like CBS News also confirmed the news, citing a source familiar with the matter.

Kanye (aka Ye) had been with CAA since 2016 after a one-year break with the agency when he joined United Talent Agency (UTA).

The agency’s reported move follows calls by UTA Chief Jeremy Zimmer to his staff on Sunday (October 23) to “support the boycott of Kanye West,” as reported by Variety.

“As a company we stand for a wide diversity of voices and ideas. But we can’t support hate speech, bigotry or anti-semitism. Please support the boycott of Kanye West. Powerful voices spewing hatred have frequently driven people to do hateful things. Let’s not be lulled into thinking this time it’s different,” Zimmer said in a memo to staff.

Ari Emanuel, CEO of Endeavor, an entertainment and media agency that owns the UFC, also called on companies that work with Ye to end ties with him, saying in an opinion piece in the Financial Times last week: “Those who continue to do business with West are giving his misguided hate an audience. There should be no tolerance anywhere for West’s anti-Semitism. This is a moment in history where the stakes are high and being open about our values, and living them, is essential. Silence and inaction are not an option.”

West’s Twitter and Instagram accounts have been locked following his antisemitic posts.

His comments sparked outrage and condemnation from artists and other members of the entertainment and media community including Saturday Night Live, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Jamie Lee Curtis, Sarah Silverman, Meghan McCain, Jack Antonoff, Ariana Grande, 50 Cent, and his ex-wife Kim Kardashian.

“Hate speech is never OK or excusable. I stand together with the Jewish community and call on the terrible violence and hateful rhetoric towards them to come to an immediate end,” the reality TV star said Monday.

West’s actions also led to the axing of his episode of The Shop, while film studio MRC scrapped Ye’s documentary.

“After discussion with our filmmakers and distribution partners, we made the decision not to proceed with any distribution for our recently completed documentary about Kanye West. We cannot support any content that amplifies his platform,” CEO Modi Wiczyk, CEO Asif Satchu, and COO Scott Tenley wrote in a joint statement to the media.

There are also growing calls for brands to end their relationship with Ye after JPMorgan Chase ended its banking relationship with Yeezy, the artist’s brand, and after Gap Inc. and fashion house Balenciaga severed ties with him.

“Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist,” parent company Kering confirmed to Women’s Wear Daily.

Endeavor’s Emanuel also called on music streaming companies to join the boycott.

Apple and Spotify, which host West’s music, whoever organizes West’s tours, and Adidas, which collaborates with West on his fashion line, should all stop working with him. The parent company of Parler, the Twitter competitor, should refuse to sell to West,” Emanuel said in his FT op-ed.

Music Business Worldwide

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