I can say anti-Semitic things and Adidas can’t put me down. This is one of the messages spread by American rapper Kanye West, also known as Ye, which has led to a cascade of business deals. Not only with the German sports brand, but also with the Balenciaga fashion brand, the GAP chain, its representatives or its patron law firm.
Adidas dropped it. The company said it “does not tolerate anti-Semitism or any other form of hate speech” and that Ye’s “recent comments and actions were unacceptable, hateful and dangerous and violate our values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness. The company’s ‘business’
For this reason, Banner claims that “after careful consideration” it has decided to “immediately cease production of Yeezy-branded products and suspend all payments to Ye and his companies.” A decision with immediate effect that will take its toll on Adidas, as it expects a negative impact on its accounts at the end of the year in the range of 250 million euros.
Furthermore, the German company did not leave the door open for Ye to use legal loopholes to continue marketing these products in other ways. “Adidas is the sole owner of all design rights for existing products.” In a few days, the multinational company will provide more details on the economic impact of the collapse of this commercial alliance. “Further information will be available in the third quarter results on November 9, 2022,” he added.
It just so happens that the company has a past steeped in Nazism behind it. After the termination of the contract with Kanye West, the American magazine “Time” recalled that the founders of Adidas, Addie and Rudi Dassler, were members of the Nazi Party, which they joined in 1933, when Hitler became Chancellor. This is not the only case. Other German multinational companies such as Porsche, Dr. Oetker or BMW also carry the legacy of cooperation with the Third Reich.
After losing contracts with Adidas, Balenciaga and Gap, Kanye West apologized in a message sent via the social network Instagram, in which he assured, among other things, that he lost 2000 million dollars in one day. But his anti-Semitic and hate speech means not only loss of income, but also legal battles. In 2020, the family of George Floyd, who was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, filed a defamation lawsuit against West to ensure that the cause of his death was the use of fentanyl and not police violence.
Adidas will provide more information in a few days about what it means to cut ties with Kanye West. For now, analysts who follow the company are talking about what this collaboration has brought it, between 4% and 8% of its sales in 2021. That year, the multinational reached 21,234 million euros in revenue.
In its latest reports, the firm did not disclose details. In fact, it only lists which celebrities have signed such contracts. “Beyoncé, Jerry Lorenzo, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Stella McCartney and Yohji Yamamoto continue to play an important role in captivating our customers,” says Adidas. “Also, we will take advantage of our associations with the biggest icons of sport, whether it’s teams like Bayern Munich or Real Madrid, or athletes like Lionel Messi or Mikaela Shiffrin,” he adds.
Some collaborations involve contracts that are not public, but typically include so-called “morality clauses” that allow those contracts to be broken if the contracted celebrities are involved in scandals or, as in this case, make statements, that inciting hatred. Not only is West’s talk of anti-Semitic messages, but he also appeared at a parade in Paris a few days ago wearing a T-shirt that read “White Lives Matter,” a slogan associated with white supremacists.
These ethics clauses allow companies to break sponsorship or collaboration contracts if celebrities or athletes engage in actions, statements or behavior that the companies don’t think is appropriate, and usually detail what will happen if that happens and how the contracts will be broken. A practice that reduces companies’ financial risks and, among other things, prevents them from going to court.
These types of clauses gained ground after cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted to doping after years of denial. “From that point on, all of Armstrong’s sponsors withdrew their support, which cost him dearly [al ciclista] About 75 million dollars. To mitigate the damage, their sponsors have enforced morals clauses written into their contracts, which allow companies to terminate sponsorship contracts if an athlete engages in directly prohibited conduct,” according to an article published in the Boston College Law Review.
One of the companies that had a deal with the Texas cyclist was Nike, through Livestrong, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. And this is not the only case that affects the American brand. Six years ago, he broke his contract with Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao after making homophobic remarks that Nike called “disgusting”.
The list of athletes who have lost their contracts – some for more serious reasons than others – is not short. Oscar Pistorius, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison for murdering his partner; Boxer Mike Tyson after his wife accused him of rape; golfer Tiger Woods because of the extramarital sex dispute, for which he lost contracts with Gillette, Accenture or AT&T, among other brands; Or tennis player Maria Sharapova, also after doping with Nike.
This is not only happening in the world of sports. Cosmetics group L’Oréal has terminated its contract with model Axel Despigelaire after photos of her hunting were published. And, in a similar case to Kanye West, Christian Dior fired designer John Galliano for anti-Semitic statements claiming he loved Hitler.
There were also cases in Spain. The Bavarian clinic chain has terminated the contract with comedian Dani Mateo after he blew his nose in a sketch of the Spanish flag. “When you decide to put laughter at work, you know that these are consequences, but sometimes it’s difficult. However, this is my job and I have to adapt. That’s why I dedicated myself to comedy. To make reality more bearable,” Dani Mateo said then.
Controversies and broken contracts are not new. In 1989, Pepsi released an ad featuring Madonna after the release of Like a Prayer because it could be considered offensive. “My Pepsi ad was pulled 30 years ago because I was kissing a black saint!” the singer wrote on Instagram. Madonna has thus hit back at the soft drink company, which pulled another ad after it was criticized for appropriating Black Lives Matter protests.
Source: El Diario