The Silence of Adidas

The Brand’s Delayed Response in Addressing Kanye West


Heather Feinstein, Staff Writer

Throughout October, rapper Kanye West began voicing antisemitic comments and theories through public appearances and interviews. West’s extremely offensive comments include him claiming to go “death con 3 on Jewish people” and that it is beneficial to learn about Hanukkah because “it would come with some financial engineering,” which emphasizes a common Jewish stereotype.

The sports company Adidas partnered with West in 2013, helping the company to bring in an extra $2 billion in annual sales, which equates to nearly 10 percent of the company’s yearly revenue. Even after Kanye continuously made hurtful comments about the Jewish community, a community that already receives the most amount of religious hate crimes in America, Adidas remained silent for weeks. Jonathan Greenblatt, the Anti-Defamation League chief executive, had meetings with executives at Adidas during their period of silence with the hope to encourage Adidas to speak out against West’s behavior, yet he said their responses to the situation were “insufficient,” revealing the company’s lack of concern with West’s antisemitic behavior. 

While other companies took action and ended partnerships with West, Adidas still remained silent even though they were being asked to comment on the situation through social media or public news outlets. Celebrities, like actress Kat Dennings and comedian Josh Gad, also put pressure on Adidas to condemn West’s actions.

Adidas finally responded to the situation on October 25, stating, “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.” The company decided to officially cut ties with West due to his offensive antisemitic comments. Adidas claimed that it will immediately end the Yeezy business, the shoe brand created by West, and terminate all Yeezy production. 

Even though Adidas finally generated a response to West’s antisemitic behavior, their decision to remain silent for weeks has infuriated citizens, especially the Jewish community.