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Adidas terminates relationship with Kanye West after pressure to cut ties over antisemitic comments

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.
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Adidas has cut ties with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, after facing pressure to end its partnership with the rapper in the wake of his antisemitic comments with backlash mounting against the entertainer and leading to him losing additional business deals. 

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”

The German athletic brand said the decision to terminate its partnership with Ye “immediately” came after a “thorough review.”

Gap, which announced in September it was ending its Yeezy Gap partnership, said in a statement Tuesday: “We are taking immediate steps to remove Yeezy Gap product from our stores and we have shut down” 

“Antisemitism, racism and hate in any form are inexcusable and not tolerated in accordance with our values,” the company said. “On behalf of our customers, employees and shareholders, we are partnering with organizations that combat hate and discrimination.”

Adidas, which began its partnership with Ye in 2013, said it will end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies. 

"Adidas will stop the Adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect,” the statement said. 

The move is anticipated to have a “short-term negative impact of up to 250 million euro,” or about $246 million USD, on the company’s net income in 2022, the company said. 

The decision comes following mounting pressure from people online demanding the company end its relationship with the artist after an antisemitic hate group was accused of hanging a banner over a Los Angeles freeway Saturday that read “Kanye is right about the Jews.”

The banner was condemned by a slew of local politicians, social media users and celebrities.

Also Tuesday, Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown said they were leaving Ye's Donda Sports.

“Our family has made the decision to part ways with Donda Sports. The recent comments and displays of hate and antisemitism are the exact opposite of how we choose to live our lives and raise our children,” Donald and his wife, Erica, said in a statement.

In May, Donald announced on a podcast that he joined Donda Sports for marketing purposes, NBC Sports reported.

As the two players distanced themselves from the rapper, Antonio Brown shared a statement Tuesday that said he would remain the president of Donda Sports.

Kim Kardashian, Ye’s ex-wife, tweeted on Monday that she pledged to “stand together with the Jewish community and call on the terrible violence and hateful rhetoric towards them to come to an immediate end.” She did not mention Ye or Adidas in the tweet.

Adidas had also said this month that it was reassessing its partnership with Ye after he donned a “White Lives Matter” shirt during Paris Fashion Week.

Cutting ties follows steps made by others in the fashion and entertainment industries — including luxury fashion house Balenciaga and talent agency CAA — in response to the singer's controversies. NBC News has contacted a publicist for Ye for comment.

Ye was additionally curtailed online by being locked out of his Twitter account and restricted on Instagram earlier this month amid backlash for antisemitic posts. 

The Anti-Defamation League praised the announcement with CEO Jonathan Greenblatt saying: “This is a very positive outcome. It illustrates that antisemitism is unacceptable and creates consequences.”

“Without a doubt, Adidas has done the right thing by cutting ties with Ye after his vicious antisemitic rants,” he said, noting thousands of people sent emails, celebrities spoke up and prominent brands cut ties with the artist as part of the campaign decrying Ye's comments.

“Adidas’ action sends a powerful message that antisemitism and bigotry have no place in society,” Greenblatt said.