Kanye West dropped by Balenciaga, 1st major company to sever ties after antisemitic comments

Kanye West's antisemitic comments lead to first business repercussion.
Kanye West's antisemitic comments lead to first business repercussion. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
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Fallout over Kanye West's controversial and antisemitic comments continues. Balenciaga, the French fashion house that's had a long-standing relationship with West and his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, announced it's severed ties with the rapper.

"Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist," its parent company Kering told WWD in a statement. It did not elaborate further. Earlier this month, West walked the runway for Balenciaga's 2023 Paris Fashion Week show — just one day before the Grammy winner's "White Lives Matter" stunt at his own Yeezy presentation.

West immediately faced backlash after the show. In subsequent interviews, including one with Fox News Channel's Tucker Carlson, he remained defiant while also spewing antisemitic rhetoric as part of his defense. Balenciaga is the first major company to end its relationship with West. In an op-ed for Financial Times, Ari Emanuel specifically called out Apple and Spotify not to do business with West.

"West is not just any person — he is a pop culture icon with millions of fans around the world," the powerful Hollywood agent wrote. "And among them are young people whose views are still being formed. This is why it is necessary for all of us to speak out. Hatred and antisemitism should have no place in our society, no matter how much money is at stake."

Emanuel praised his clients, LeBron James and Maverick Carter, for not airing West's interview on the The Shop, which purportedly contained dangerous rhetoric.

"Those who continue to do business with West are giving his misguided hate an audience," the Endeavor CEO added. "There should be no tolerance anywhere for West's antisemitism. This is a moment in history where the stakes are high and being open about our values, and living them, is essential. Silence and inaction are not an option."

Practically no public figures have come to West's defense, but Trevor Noah offered a different take on the situation. The "Runaway" rapper has frequently bashed The Daily Show host, even calling Noah a racial slur earlier this year, but Noah made clear there is no "beef" with West as that has to be two-sided.

"I was never beefing with Kanye West, I was concerned about Kanye West," Noah recently said while filming his show. The comedian called out publications for giving West an outlet while he may be dealing with mental health issues.

"If somebody says to me, or to anyone, that they have a mental health issue, and they say to everyone that when they don't take their medication, they're unable to control themselves and then everyone ignores when that person is having an episode and they haven't taken their medication, and then they platform the person and then they put them out. I sometimes think it's a little shitty to be honest with you," Noah said.

"My grandfather was bipolar, and one thing we knew in the family was — and I'm not saying Kanye is, by the way — I'm just saying my grandfather was," Noah added. "When he was having one of his episodes, he could act in a certain way... but our job was to support him."

After a string of controversial outbursts in 2018, West revealed he was bipolar. He hasn't spoken much about the diagnosis since. The rapper has slammed anyone who tries to relate his public statements to his mental health.

"I don't have beef with that human being. What I have beef with is us as a society not coming together around a person and going like, hey, hey, hey, maybe this is not the moment to put a microphone in your face, so you just go off saying everything," Noah added. "If this is what you want to say when you're on your medication, then that's a different story, but because you've told us that, I'm not gonna sit by."

West is in hot water legally for what he's been saying, too. George Floyd's daughter will be suing the rapper for comments he made questioning Floyd's cause of death.

MORE: Kanye West facing $250M lawsuit by George Floyd's daughter for fentanyl comment