Corporate America is canceling Kanye West

New York
CNN Business

In the last few weeks, retailers, social media platforms, celebrities and fashion and entertainment companies have peeled away from business alliances with rapper Ye.

Ye, also known as Kanye West, has become a controversy magnet.

In early October, Ye wore a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt and dressed several Black models in clothing with the same phrase at his YZY runway show at Paris fashion week.

In a 45-minute “Drink Champs” podcast episode aired earlier this month, the rapper made numerous outrageous comments that caused actual financial repercussions for him and his brand partners. On the podcast, West said, “I can say antisemitic things, and Adidas can’t drop me. Now what?” He also suggested George Floyd died from a fentanyl overdose rather than police brutality. And herepeated several antisemitic conspiracy theories, doubling down on them in subsequent interviews.

Later, West threatened on Twitter to “Go death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.”

Since Ye’s antisemitic comments, businesses have come under pressure to take further action against him. Here are the businesses cutting ties with Ye.

On Monday, Adidas ended its partnership with Ye, also known as Kanye West, with “immediate effect.”

In a statement, the sportswear maker said it “does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech” and said that his recent comments were ‘unacceptable, hateful and dangerous.”

Adidas said they violated the company’s “values ​​of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”

Sales and production of his Yeezy branded products have stopped as well as payments to Ye and his companies. Adidas said it will take a €250 million hit ($246 million) to its fourth quarter sales.

The rapper said he was ending his rocky two-year relationship with the Gap on September 15, citing “substantial noncompliance.” Ye said he was left “no choice but to terminate their collaboration,” alleging the company didn’t open branded Yeezy stores and distribute his merchandise as planned, his lawyer said in a statement.

“How we work together to deliver this vision is not aligned. And we are deciding to wind down the partnership,” Mark Breitbard, president and CEO of Gap Brand, said in an internal email.

You still might see Yeezy Gap merchandise on the Gap site, though. The retailer said existing items will continue to be sold – including forthcoming collections into the fall and into the first half of 2023.

A Meta (FB) spokesperson said content from Ye’s account was deleted for violating the company’s policies and a restriction was placed on his account, also on October 7. Though Meta (FB) didn’t specify the content, West shared a post that was criticized as being antisemitic.

Afterward, West made a return to Twitter after nearly two years away from the social media platform – that didn’t last long, either.

Twitter (TWTR) locked his account following an antisemitic tweet posted on October 8.

In the since-removed tweet, West said he was “going death con 3 [sic] On JEWISH PEOPLE,” and also that, “You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda,” without specifying what group he was addressing, according to Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine records pulled by CNN.

Kanye’s antisemitic comments were also the final straw for luxury fashionhouse Balenciaga, which severed ties over the weekend. He had collaborated with Balenciaga for a wildly popular Yeezy Gap line earlier this year.

“Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist,” Kering, Balenciaga’s parent company, said in a statement to WWD.

The prominent talent agency said to CNN on Monday that Ye is no longer a client.

CNN’s Jamiel Lynch, David Williams, Megan Thomas, Brian Fung, Oliver Darcy, Jordan Valinsky and Chloe Melas contributed to this report.