Kanye West

Netizens were glad to hear that Kanye West might have reconciled with Adidas. Image via Getty Images

Adidas CEO says Kanye West ‘didn’t mean what he said’ about Jews

Bjørn Gulden, CEO of Adidas, has given his first public comment on the fallout with Kanye West following the rapper’s outbursts last year.

Kanye West

Netizens were glad to hear that Kanye West might have reconciled with Adidas. Image via Getty Images

Almost a year after German sportswear company, Adidas, cut ties with Kanye West, its CEO has no hard feelings.

During his interview on philanthropist Nicolai Tangen’s podcast In Good Company, Bjorn Gulden was asked about the clothing brand’s partnership with the Donda rapper and how its Yeezy collaboration fell apart after the musician made a series of remarks which were deemed antisemitic.

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Gulden called Ye “one of the most creative people in the world,” both in music and street culture.

Gulden, who was appointed CEO of Adidas about a month after the scandal unfolded, said the company’s fall out with the artist was “very sad” because it meant that the retailer “lost that business.”

“I don’t think he meant what he said and I don’t think he’s a bad person – it just came across that way,” Gulden said.

According to The Guardian, the Yeezy line generating £1.3 billion (about R30 billion) in 2021, 7% of Adidas’ overall annual revenue. After cutting ties with West, Adidas saw a £350 million (approximately R8 billion) drop in sales in the first quarter of 2023, in a year-on-year comparison with 2022.

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In October last year, West – who has legally changed his name to Ye – wrote on X (formerly Twitter) that he was “going death con 3 on Jewish people.”

During his now-deleted interview on the Drink Champs podcast on 16 October, West said: “I can say antisemitic s**t and Adidas cannot drop me.”

The Can’t Tell Me Nothing hitmaker also spoke with Chris Cuomo on NewsNation on 18 October, telling the host that he doesn’t “believe in that term [antisemitic].”

“One thing is, Black people are also Jew [sic]. I classify as Jew also… So I actually can’t be an antisemite. The term is actually not factual.”

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On Instagram, the father-of-four posted a screenshot of a conversation with fellow rapper Diddy, where he wrote: “Ima use you as an example to show the Jewish people that told you to call me that no one can threaten or influence me.”

Following his remarks, Adidas said Ye’s comments had been “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness”.

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This, however, did not stop the musician, who praised Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in December in an interview with Infowars host Alex Jones.

“I see good things about Hitler.

“Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler … [Nazis] did good things too… There’s a lot of things that I love about Hitler, ” Ye said.