After weeks of publicly bashing Adidas, which was followed by his most recent headline-grabbing “White Lives Matter” fashion show, one of Kanye West’s most valuable partners said it is reconsidering its deal with the controversial artist.
On Friday, Oct. 7, Adidas, one of the largest sports apparel brands in the world, released a statement saying it has placed the Yeezy, an estimated $4 billion to $5 billion brand, “under review.”
According to CNN Business, the company said, “After repeated efforts to privately resolve the situation, we have taken the decision to place the partnership under review.”
“We will continue to co-manage the current product during this period,” the statement continued.
Inside The Partnership
The partnership with West started in 2013 after the company was able to snatch Ye’s emerging fashion line away from its chief rival, Nike.
Three years later, Adidas enjoyed such a prosperous business relationship that it described it as “the most significant partnership ever created between a non-athlete and an athletic brand.”
But long gone is that relationship. Over the last year, Ye has been publicly bashing the three-striped brand, complaining about the integrity of the company like he did another apparel brand he most recently was dropped from, the Gap.
He once took to social media and posted pictures of Adidas board members and CEO Kasper Rorsted, saying they were stealing his ideas. Then he created a fake New York Times front page meme of Rorsted, claiming he had died.
In August, Rorsted tried to keep a civil public face when talking about the strained relationship with CNBC, saying, “He’s had a tremendous impact globally for us. Kanye is our most important partner worldwide. We have a very, very good relationship with him. We communicate with him on a very ongoing basis. And we’re very proud of that relationship.”
Kanye Bashes Company
However, despite petitions to play nice in the media, Kanye continued to rant about the company.
On Thursday, Sept. 15, when asked on CNBC’s “Closing Bell” about his deal with Adidas, he said, “In any of these relationships that I am in, I have to have a say so on the colorways. They were naming things and sending in guys to tell me ‘don’t tell your audience you didn’t name that.’”
The 24-time Grammy winner continued to say the brand was slowing down his allotment, stealing his ideas, and dismissing his ideas about the comfortability of the shoe.
He asked Sara Eisen, the show’s host, to consider Michael Jordan’s deal with Nike and how much wealthier his Nike partner is than he is, asserting that will not be him.
“This is the day of liberation. This is the day for my cash flow to be valued on the equity that we bring,” he continued.
Weeks later, after the announcement from the sneaker brand, Kanye posted a CNBC screenshot with the caption, “F— ADIDAS I AM ADIDAS ADIDAS RAPED AND STOLE MY DESIGNS.”
Adidas’ announcement comes days after West’s YZY runway show at Paris Fashion Week. In it, he wore (and dressed several Black models in) “White Lives Matter” T-shirts. Instantly, many fans, friends, and musical colleagues took to social media to question his motive and why would he align himself with a catchphrase that the Anti-Defamation League categorized as a “hate slogan” used by White supremacist groups like the Proud Boys and Ku Klux Klan.
Is Kanye’s Billionaire Status in Trouble?
Forbes has dropped West on their top billionaires list and estimated his current net worth at $2 billion, $4 billion less since the dissolution of the Yeezy Gap deal.
While still a part of this lucrative multi-year to design sneaker brand Yeezy for Adidas, a review of the deal could cut his bank in half.
According to a business news outlet, “West’s deal with Adidas is worth $220 million annually and $1.5 billion total … and his net worth would plummet to well below $1 billion without the partnership.”