The Yecosystem grows lonelier by the hour. Following a spate of antisemitic and anti-Black comments made by Ye on multiple TV shows, podcasts, and social-media platforms, several companies and institutions have publicly cut ties with the rapper in an effort to distance themselves from his harmful rhetoric. Many of the swift disavowals come after an antisemitic group hung banners in support of Ye and his antisemitism over Interstate 405 in Los Angeles, prompting a flood of social-media users, celebrities, and brands to denounce antisemitism and mount pressure on companies to hold Ye accountable. His previous anti-Black statements about Lizzo, family planning, and George Floyd, along with a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt worn at his Paris fashion show, fueled the growing call to condemn Ye, though it was the Los Angeles incident that proved to be the final straw for companies.
“I can say antisemitic shit, and Adidas can’t drop me,” Ye said on the Drink Champs Podcast on October 16 — days before the banner was hung over the 405. But drop him it did. Adidas terminated its relationship with Ye on October 24, expecting a projected Q4 loss of €250 million ($246 million). While the decision hit Adidas hard, Ye lost far more in the breakup — his billionaire status turned to dust without Adidas, per Forbes, leaving him with a $400 million estimated net worth (down from $1.9 billion). Plus Adidas owns the design rights to Yeezy products so … yeah. It all falls down. Below, the institutions — from Balenciaga to Gap to his own talent agency, CAA — that have parted ways with Ye.
His honorary alma mater
TMZ reported on December 8 that the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has rescinded the honorary doctorate awarded to Ye in 2015. A letter to the school’s community explaining the decision cited “disturbing behaviors” and condemned his “anti-Black, antisemitic, and incendiary statements.” According to SAIC president Elissa Tenny, this is the first time that the institution has ever taken back an honorary degree back.
Parler, a social media app popular among right-wing users, has announced that Ye will no longer become its new owner. The news was shared on December 1, the same day that Ye praised Hitler during an interview with Alex Jones on Infowars. According to Parler, the decision was mutual and made weeks earlier “in the interest of both parties.”
Not even Goodwill wants Yeezys. MSN is reporting that Goodwill is removing all Yeezy products from their stores, and will be picking through donations to remove Kanye-affiliated products in the future.
Madame Tussauds told the BBC that they have removed the wax figure of Ye from their London location. “Ye’s figure has been retired from the attraction floor to our archive,” the waxwork company said in a statement. “Each profile earns their place at Madame Tussauds London and we listen to our guests and the public on who they expect to see at the attraction.”
Sketchers issued a press release stating that Ye is not the S, nor will he ever be. Apparently, Ye came to the Los Angeles Sketchers offices “unannounced and without invitation,” as well as filming without permission. He was escorted out. “Skechers is not considering and has no intention of working with West,” the release read. “We condemn his recent divisive remarks and do not tolerate antisemitism or any other form of hate speech.”
TJX — the company that runs TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and Marshalls — will no longer be purchasing Yeezy merchandise for their stores. “At TJX we do not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or hate of any kind. We have instructed our buying teams not to purchase this merchandise for sale in any of our stores globally,” the company told CNN Business.
The same CNN Business article reported that Christie’s auction house will no longer be going forward with the private sale of the Nike Air Yeezy 1 prototypes that Ye wore to the 2008 Grammys.
Foot Locker sent an internal message to its stores October 25, requesting that stores remove all Yeezy-branded footwear from sales floors. Stores were to hold them in back rooms, awaiting further instructions. “Foot Locker, Inc. does not tolerate any form of antisemitism, or hateful and discriminatory behavior,” a Foot Locker, Inc. spokesperson said in a statement obtained by Complex. “While we remain a partner with Adidas and carry a wide assortment of their collections—we will not be supporting any future Yeezy product drops, and we have instructed our retail operators to pull any existing product from our shelves and digital sites.”
The activewear giant formally terminated its partnership with Ye on October 25, releasing a full statement denouncing his harmful remarks and outlining the impact on its bottom line. “adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the press release said, calling his comments “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous” and a violation of the “company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.” Read the full statement below.
adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech. 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.
After a thorough review, the company has 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. adidas will stop the adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect.
This 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 is the sole owner of all design rights to existing products as well as previous and new colorways under the partnership. More information will be given as part of the company’s upcoming Q3 earnings announcement on November 9, 2022.
Suburban-mall mainstay Gap shut down YeezyGap.com, the website that sold the rapper’s capsule collection with the brand. Though the partnership ended in September after Ye said the company didn’t fulfill its contractual obligations, the website remained active until its deactivation on October 25 hours after Adidas cut ties with Ye.
“In September, Gap announced ending its Yeezy Gap partnership,” the company stated. “Our former partner’s recent remarks and behavior further underscore why. We are taking immediate steps to remove Yeezy Gap product from our stores and we have shut down YeezyGap.com.”
“Antisemitism, racism and hate in any form are inexcusable and not tolerated in accordance with our values. On behalf of our customers, employees and shareholders, we are partnering with organizations that combat hate and discrimination,” the statement concluded.
Def Jam Records
“Def Jam’s relationship with Ye as a recording artist, Def Jam’s partnership with the GOOD Music label venture and Ye’s merchandise agreement with Bravado all ended in 2021,” Universal Music Group, the label’s parent company, said in a statement on October 25. “There is no place for antisemitism in our society. We are deeply committed to combating antisemitism and every other form of prejudice.” GOOD Music is no longer affiliated with Def Jam, the New York Times reported on October 24.
“Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist,” parent company Kering told Women’s Wear Daily on October 21, declining to elaborate further, according to the site.
Ye’s sports-marketing agency lost multiple clients in the fallout of his hate-speech controversy. L.A. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald ended his contract with Donda Sports on October 25. “Our family has made the decision to part ways with Donda Sports,” Donald and his wife, Erica, wrote in a tweet. “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. We find them to be irresponsible and go against everything we believe in as a family.”
Boston Celtics shooting guard Jaylen Brown, who said earlier this week that he would remain with the agency, joined Donald in terminating his business relationship with Donda Sports. “In the past 24 hours, I’ve been able to reflect and better understand how my previous statements lack clarity in expressing my stance against recent insensitive public remarks and actions,” Brown tweeted in a statement on October 25. “For that, I apologize. And in this, I seek to be as clear as possible. I have always, and will always, continue to stand strongly against any antisemitism, hate speech, misrepresentation, and oppressive rhetoric of any kind.” Both Donald and Brown had signed with the marketing agency in May.
Ye still has allies, though. Former NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown — who was dropped by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year after he stripped on the field during a game — said he would remain president of Donda Sports. “Over the past few weeks the world’s reactionary and selective outrage at comments in the media made by my brother, Ye, have inflamed and sparked rampant conversation and reflection,” Brown tweeted on October 25. “I too have been able to reflect on statements that I and others in my circle have made that lack clarity in expressing my stance. The people and brands that have relentlessly profited from Black ideas and Black culture chose to distance themselves at a very specific time: a time that demonstrated their prioritization of certain groups over others.” He said he remains dedicated to “freedom of speech, thought, and opinion,” and will continue to “clarify statements taken out of proportion by the media.”
The company behind a finished Ye documentary scrapped the project on October 24, saying it “cannot support any content that amplifies his platform.” The (bizarre) statement said Ye is “a producer and sampler of music” who “sampled and remixed a classic tune that has charted for over 3000 years — the lie that Jews are evil and conspire to control the world for their own gain” before making it clear that MRC supports both Palestine and Israel’s right to exist. Read the full statement here.
A spokesperson told “Page Six” on October 21 that the magazine and its editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, will no longer work with the rapper. Condé Nast, Vogue’s publisher, has yet to release a full statement. Earlier this month, Ye bullied global fashion editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson online during Paris Fashion Week and publicly mocked her after she criticized the “White Lives Matter” T-shirts worn at the Yeezy presentation.
“Vogue stands with Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, our global fashion editor at large and longtime contributor,” read an October 4 statement posted on social media. “She was personally targeted and bullied. It is unacceptable. Now more than ever, voices like hers are needed and in a private meeting with Ye today she once again spoke her truth in a way she felt best, on her terms.”
The financial giant broke up with Ye before the repeated anti-Black and antisemitic comments, choosing to end its relationship with the rapper on September 20. The decision was made after Ye publicly said he was going to drop the bank. “It’s time for me to go it alone,” he told Bloomberg News on September 12. The letter ending Ye’s partnership with JPMorgan Chase was shared on Twitter by conservative Candace Owens in mid-October.
Jeremy Zimmer, CEO and co-founder of the talent agency UTA, asked his staff to “support the boycott of Kanye West.” The memo, sent to employees on October 23, was titled “Rise of Anti Semitism and Hate,” according to a Variety report. The rapper was a UTA client for a year before returning to CAA in 2016. Read the full memo here.
The rapper’s own agency, CAA, cut ties with Ye, Deadline confirmed on October 24.
This is a developing story.