Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Kanye West’s Controversy: Bye Bye billion-dollar Adidas deal

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Leeds chapter.

Kanye West (45), who once gave us undeniable chart-toppers such as ‘Gold Digger’ and ‘Flashing Lights’ is now under fire for controversial statements he had made on antisemitism, which caused severe backlash not only towards himself, but also Adidas, who sponsored Kanye’s billion-dollar brand, Yeezy. This cut-off of ties between the two parties means that Kanye no longer makes the cut on the Forbes Billionaires list, as the majority of his net worth stemmed from his deal with the design company. 

He once was worth 1.5 billion dollars, but this drastically plummeted to 400 million dollars. While this is still an overly substantial net worth for someone to have, the figure is still a vast decrease from his former financial status as a billionaire. Forbes, an American business magazine, said that: ‘With that [the contract] gone, Ye is no longer a billionaire.’ They also estimate that the remaining $400 million of Ye’s net worth is made up of his music cash, real estate and 5% ownership stake in his ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s company, Skims. As such, Forbes have delisted Ye from their list of billionaires while noting that he consistently refuted claims about his fortune. Allegedly, he sent Forbes a text in 2020, when he was first included on the list as having an official net worth of one billion, which read: ‘It’s $3.3 billion since no one at Forbes knows how to count.’

Last month, following weeks of antisemitic comments made on social media and in interviews with major media outlets, the rapper-turned-fashion mogul urged Adidas to fire him. He has also had business relationships with high-end fashion labels such as Balenciaga and Gap terminated due to his antisemitic remarks and wearing clothing with a slogan associated with the KKK. Ye, formerly Kanye West, is not a first timer when it comes to being involved with controversies. Before the most recent uproar, his acts and remarks had consistently drawn criticism with many accusing his collaborators in the music and fashion industries of encouraging his behaviour. 

In response to Ye’s behaviour, Adidas released a statement: ‘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.’ 

More recently, George Floyd’s family revealed plans to sue Ye over remarks he made claiming Floyd died from fentanyl addiction; in reality and as declared by a jury, Floyd’s death was caused by the illegal actions of Minneapolis police officers. The footage of Floyd’s interaction with the police officers would go on to become viral and to trigger the #BlackLivesMatter movement, bringing forth the issues that revolve around racism into the limelight. 

While Adidas no longer sells the Yeezy brand, this does not necessarily mean that it is gone for good; Ye might choose to independently revive the company. For the time-being however, Adidas and other companies currently or previously affiliated with Ye are acting to distance themselves from him and to denounce his offensive and upsetting remarks.

Written by: Annika Nair

Edited by: Joanna MacInnes

Hello! My name is Annika, and I am a first year student at the University of Leeds, studying Food Science and Nutrition. I have been writing since as long as I remember, whether that be creative writing, stories, poems, songs etc. I have also written for school magazines and newspapers throughout middle school and high school, and even been student editor! I joined HerCampus as I love the concept of it being a female- only run project, plus I have the freedom to write about anything! My hobbies include reading, dancing, singing and sports. Overall, I am really excited to be a part of this initiative :)