This article was published on October 24, 2022 and updated on October 25, 2022
It took Kanye West — real name Ye — continuing to double down on his anti-Semitic rhetoric to finally burn his professional bridges but, once a few were set alight, they all caught ablaze. In the past few weeks since he began escalating his social media outbursts to genuine hate speech, Ye has lost business partners left and right.
The latest brand and perhaps most notable brand to officially cut Ye loose is adidas, who up until October 24 had still not spoken on its status with Ye, except for the statement about the YEEZY "partnership [being placed] under review" that was issued back on October 6.
However on October 25, adidas confirmed in a statement that it had "taken the decision to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of YEEZY branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies" and that it would "stop the adidas YEEZY business with immediate effect."
The statement also read that as a result of Kanye's actions, adidas "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."
adidas' announcement follows Balenciaga's decision to independently break up with Ye on October 21 after days of speculating about how Ye's friendship with creative director Demna would affect his relationship with the luxury house.
In the days since, a tidal wave of former friends and acquaintances have also distanced themselves with Ye, from Anna Wintour to his former talent agency, CAA. A documentary titled Ye was recently completed but will be shelved without release.
Some even encouraged others to follow suit and dump Ye while others, like ex-wife Kim Kardashian, have simply uploaded Instagram Stories reiterating support for "the Jewish community" and avoided mentioning Ye by name.
Meanwhile, Ye's since-deleted October 15 appearance on the Drink Champs podcast set off another round of immediate consequences.
Prior to the recent adidas news, Ye had also goaded adidas' dependency on YEEZY.
"The thing about me and adidas is like, I can literally say anti-Semitic shit and they cant drop me," he boasted, emphasizing the latter statement by repeating it. "Now what?"
Ye has tested the boundaries of his adidas contract over the past year, frequently wearing Nike sneakers and even threatening to take YEEZY independent, eventually creating a standalone YEEZY Instagram account with no adidas mentions in site.
Is YEEZY owned by Kanye? Indeed, adidas has no role in its top-level operations.
However, adidas produced YEEZY sneakers and had a vested interest in continuing to work with Ye's brand: it's estimated to bring in upward of $2 billion a year for adidas.
After Ye ended YEEZY's contract with GAP, video surfaced of the rapper meeting with adidas executives but the German sportswear giant offered no public response besides the October 6 statement.
As Ye's behavior becomes more and more difficult to defend outside for anyone who doesn't hate Jewish people, it becomes easier and easier to endorse for anyone who does hate Jewish people.
On October 23, a group of neo-Nazis stood by banners espousing support for Kanye's statements, signaling Nazi salutes to passing motorists.
"He's like Hitler," Howard Stern said of Ye on October 19. Seems like these folks agree.
There are even adidas YEEZY job postings being uploaded to sites like LinkedIn as recently as October 21, suggesting that adidas and Ye's YEEZY brand remained intertwined.
However, it won't be easy to brush aside the association with Ye and his toxic beliefs, which are so disagreeable that even GAP is receiving residual backlash.
The mass market retailer continued to promote the YEEZY GAP Engineered by Balenciaga products through infrequent email blasts, which continued even as neo-Nazis showed public support for Ye's statements.
However, the YEEZY GAP Engineered by Balenciaga collection was confirmed to be sold until early 2023, even after Ye severed his contract with GAP. The clothes were already produced and GAP intended to offload them.
But by promoting the products, GAP risked the appearance of tacitly co-signing Ye's indefensible anti-Semitism.