Kanye West Didn’t “Mean What He Said” About Jews, Adidas CEO Says

Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden says Kanye West didn’t mean what he said about Jewish people. During a conversation with In Good Company, Gulden spoke about his relationship with Ye.

The executive opened up about how he and Adidas handled the fallout after the rapper’s anti-Semitic comments last year. Bjørn said Ye’s rhetoric “wasn’t that good” and detailed that the shoe company was forced to break its contract with West. As he continued, Gulden admitted that he didn’t feel Ye was genuine in his hateful rhetoric.

“I think Kanye West is one of the most creative people in the world,” he began. “Both in music and what I call street culture. So he’s extremely creative and has together with Adi created a Yeezy line that was very successful. And then, as creative people, he did some statements, which wasn’t that good. And that caused Adi to break the contract and withdraw the product.”

“Very unfortunate, because 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… That meant we lost that business. One of the most successful collabs in history – very sad. But again, when you work with third parties, that could happen. It’s part of the game. That can happen with an athlete, it can happen with an entertainer. It’s part of the business.”

Last year, Ye went on a rant during his now infamous Drink Champs episode, boasting he can get away with saying hateful language. “I can say anti-Semitic things, and Adidas can’t drop me. Now what?” A couple of weeks after this statement, Adidas did just that.

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” stated the brand in a press release issued on Tuesday (Oct. 25). “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.”

The Washington Post reported that Adidas began questioning its relationship with the producer after he donned a “white lives matter” t-shirt in October 2022.

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