Adidas won't drop Kanye West for slavery comments despite petition: 'He's been a fantastic creator'

Taryn Ryder
Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
Kanye West in February 2018. (Photo: Backgrid)

Adidas is sticking by its man. CEO Kasper Rorsted made it clear the company has no plans to cut ties with Kanye West after the rapper’s controversial remarks about slavery.

We’re not going to comment or speculate on every single comment that our external creators are making,” Rorsted told Bloomberg on Thursday. “Kanye has been, and is, a very important part of our strategy, and he’s been a fantastic creator, and that’s where I’m going to leave it.”

A petition was started this week for Adidas to drop Kim Kardashian’s husband. On Tuesday, West appeared on TMZ Live and said, “When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice.”

When pressed about the comment, Rorsted acknowledged that “there clearly are some comments we don’t support.” He later added that “of course” he saw the comment but had not yet had a conversation about it with West.

The executive also declined to say how much revenue the rapper and designer is responsible for when asked. West has boasted on Twitter recently how profitable Yeezy has become.

Although he wouldn’t give specific numbers, Rorsted made it clear that Adidas values West and Yeezy.

“If you look upon our overall numbers, last year we did almost $25 billion — we’re a very large company. Kanye and Yeezy is a very important part for our brand. You know, from a revenue standpoint, less so,” he said. “But it’s a very important part of how we promote our products, particularly in the U.S. and other parts of the world. … So while Kanye is a very important part of the Adidas brand, Adidas is a large, global company with a very, very strong presence around the world, and we’ll continue to perform well.”

West first signed a limited design partnership with Adidas in 2013, moving his Yeezy brand over from Nike. In 2016, the German sportswear company announced a long-term partnership with West, which will include brick-and-mortar Yeezy retail hubs, new designs, and sports performance gear.

While Adidas is backing West, the rapper is feeling blowback from fans, celebrities, and even his wife, Kim Kardashian. Sources tell Yahoo Entertainment that the reality star was “worried” after seeing her husband’s manic meltdown on TMZ Live on Tuesday.

West, 40, and Kardashian, 37, have reportedly jetted off to Wyoming to get away from the noise as he finishes his album, which should be released on May 25.

He’ll have trouble getting his new album played in Detroit. Radio station 105.1 the Bounce announced that it would no longer air songs from West.

“We are over it. We don’t want to hear Kanye’s music, we don’t want to play Kanye on our show, we don’t want to talk about Kanye anymore,” hosts Shay Shay and BiGG asserted. “So we are taking a stand, and we aren’t playing his music anymore; we just are refusing to give him a platform.”

This might just be the beginning.

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