Listen Live
102.5 The Block App Promo graphics
92.7 The Block Featured Video
CLOSE

adidas + KANYE WEST New Partnership Announcement

Source: Jonathan Leibson / Getty


Along the way to becoming a rap star, Kanye West also became a poster child for the tolerance of otherwise inexcusable behavor. But bumrushing the MTV VMA’s stage or calling slavery a choice is light work compared to his shenanigans at adidas, which were recently exposed by a lengthy New York Times article investigating his time at the brand.

By now you’ve surely heard that the last straw for adidas was when Ye decided to go full antisemite. But it still took a while, and it didn’t stop the brand from trying to sell off the remaining stock of adidas Yeezys they still had in warehouses. In fact, word is they still have adidas Yeezy product to move, eventually.

Nevertheless, the New York Times learned that the German sportswear brand was putting up with Ye’s antisemitic rhetoric basically since the start of their almost 10-year business relationship. Obviously, Mr. West made them a gang of money, so don’t expect many tears to be shed on their behalf.

The NY Times found evidence that Ye allegedly routinely made antisemitic comments, sexually offensive comments, and displayed out of pocket behavior that still wasn’t enough to stop execs from cutting ties with the artist. And best believe, they have the receipts.

This article is the fullest accounting yet of their relationship. While some details have been reported earlier, The Times interviewed current and former employees of Adidas and of Mr. West, and obtained hundreds of previously undisclosed internal records — contracts, text messages, memos and financial documents — that reveal episodes throughout a partnership that was fraught from the start.

Some of the documented antics have been told before, others are new revelations and low-key mind-blowing. We had to compile some of the most blatant tomfoolery documented in the story, for archival purposes. See below.

 

 

 

Swastikas & Hitler Love: The Wildest Kanye West Stories In The ‘New York Times’ Investigation  was originally published on hiphopwired.com

1. Swastika Ye

Swastika Ye Source:Getty

Kanye West was so unimpressed with the initial batch of designs presented to him by adidas when they first joined forces in 2013 that he took a marker and drew a swastika on one of the illustrations. We’re not kidding. 

Per the NY Times: 

“The Adidas employees, thrilled to get started, had arrayed sneakers and fabric swatches on a long table near a mood board pinned with images.

But nothing they showed that day at the company’s German headquarters captured the vision Mr. West had shared. To convey how offensive he considered the designs, he grabbed a sketch of a shoe and took a marker to the toe, according to two participants. Then he drew a swastika.”

Bruh…

 

HOLLYWOOD, CA – JUNE 28: (L-R) adidas CMO Eric Liedtke and Kanye West at Milk Studios on June 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. adidas and Kanye West announce the future of their partnership: adidas + KANYE WEST. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for ADIDAS) photography,arts culture and entertainment,horizontal,usa,topix,bestof,waist up,california,males,hollywood – california,milk studios,adidas,partnership – teamwork,ye – musician

2. Kiss Hitler

Kiss Hitler Source:Getty

No good can come from a Hitler obsession. Allegedly, Ye told a Jewish employee they should kiss a photo of Hitler. The employee in question, revealed to be Jon Wexler who helped bring him into the adidas fold, yelled at Ye. 

Per the NY Times: 

“He later advised a Jewish Adidas manager to kiss a picture of Hitler every day, and he told a member of the company’s executive board that he had paid a seven-figure settlement to one of his own senior employees who accused him of repeatedly praising the architect of the Holocaust.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 17: Kanye West onstage at adidas Creates 747 Warehouse St. – an event in basketball culture on February 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for adidas)

3. Roshe Homicide Confirmed

Roshe Homicide Confirmed Source:Getty

Sneakersheads were saying this from jump the adidas Yeezy 350 got the then super popular Nike Roshe outta here.

Per the NY Times: 

“First came a suede high-top, followed by the Yeezy Boost 350 — a sleek sneaker inspired by Nike’s Roshe Run and nicknamed “the Roshe killer” inside Adidas. It had a flat front, not the standard rolled toe that Mr. West disdained. It put a Yeezy spin on Adidas innovations: Boost foam, a new cushioning technology, in the sole, and a patterned knit fabric on top. The shoe wasn’t suited for running or sports, but complemented the athleisure apparel that was coming into fashion.”

PARIS, FRANCE – JUNE 26: Buyer from ANROSA boutique Romain Rabiller wears Adidas by Kayne West sneakers on day 3 of Paris Collections: Men on June 26, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Kirstin Sinclair/Getty Images)

4. Porn Ye

Porn Ye Source:Getty

Ye is a well-documented fan of pornography. However, it’s not the best of looks in the workplace. For example: 

Per the NY Times: 

“Mr. West continued to show pornography to Adidas employees, and chose porn actresses to appear in Yeezy promotional photos, according to several people who worked with him. They also said they had seen him drinking at work and noticed that he sometimes went days with little or no sleep.”

LOS ANGELES, CA – OCTOBER 14: Kanye West is seen on October 14, 2022 in Los Angeles, California (Photo by MEGA/GC Images) 

5. Morals?

Morals? Source:Getty

Ye’s then manager, Scooter Braun, tried to fight it, but adidas insisted on and was a granted a moral clause when his contract was re-upped in 2016. Talk about “CYA.” But, Ye got a 15% royalty and $10 million guaranteed annually. 

Per the NY Times: 

“Mr. West eventually conceded on Adidas’s terms for termination: felony conviction, bankruptcy, 30 consecutive days of mental health or substance abuse treatment, or anything that brings “disrepute, contempt, scandal” to him or tarnishes Adidas, according to a copy of the contract obtained by The Times.”

HOLLYWOOD, CA – JUNE 28: Kanye West at Milk Studios on June 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. adidas and Kanye West announce the future of their partnership: adidas + KANYE WEST (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for ADIDAS) 

6. Break

Break Source:Getty

After signing his new adidas contract in May 2016, Kanye West would infamously suffer a mental break that required hospitalization later that year. The NY Times got some new details about when he was committed soon after he canceled his tour. 

Per the NY Times: 

“Harley Pasternak, his friend and former trainer, arrived at the musician’s house in Los Angeles that week to find him consumed with paranoid thoughts, including that government agents were out to get him. He was writing Bible verses and drawing spaceships on bedsheets with a Sharpie, while a handful of worried friends and employees lingered nearby. When Mr. Pasternak encouraged him to come to a nearby office he owned, Mr. West emerged with suitcases packed with pots, pans and Tupperware.

Mr. Pasternak, who later provided an account of the incident in a deposition for Mr. West’s touring company as it sought insurance payouts for the canceled shows, took him to the office. A psychiatrist from U.C.L.A. Medical Center and another doctor were among those called to the scene. After observing Mr. West’s behavior escalate — at one point he threw a bottle, breaking a window — the doctor called 911.”

Kanye West performing (Photo by Swan Gallet/WWD/Penske Media via Getty Images) 

7. Blame Farrakhan

Blame Farrakhan Source:Youtube

Ye’s relationship with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has been shaky. But in 2013 Ye let off some potentially antisemitic remarks when he told The Breakfast Club that Jews had “connections” but he said much more egregious rhetoric behind closed doors. 

Per the NY Times: 

“He was becoming closer to Mr. Farrakhan. When Mr. West had drawn criticism that he was perpetuating dangerous stereotypes in 2013 by saying “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people,” the minister quickly came to his defense. The rapper went on to help him with a documentary about the Nation of Islam. His manager, Mr. Braun — the grandson of Holocaust survivors — told others in the industry that Mr. West made him attend a private dinner with the minister.”

Mr. West also told some Adidas colleagues that he admired Hitler’s command of propaganda, viewing him as a master marketer.”

In 2018, he disclosed to Mr. Liedtke and another manager that he had paid a seven-figure settlement to the outgoing chief executive of his Yeezy operation, who had accused him of commending Hitler and creating a hostile workplace, according to someone familiar with the conversation.”

8. Kanye West x TMZ edit

Kanye West x TMZ edit Source:Youtube

We all know that Kanye West told TMZ that he thought slavery sounded like a choice, and the firestorm it set off. It turns out that he also said that we should both sides Nazis in the same interview, but his manager managed to get it removed. 

Per the NY Times: 

“During the TMZ interview in which Mr. West made the slavery comment, he said it was important to love everyone, including Nazis. Before the interview aired, Mr. Braun phoned Harvey Levin, founder of the celebrity news website, to discuss the Nazi reference, according to someone with knowledge of the call. In the end, the remark was cut but was disclosed in 2022 by a former journalist from the site. TMZ declined to comment.”

9. Shoe Me The Money

Shoe Me The Money Source:Kanye West Purchases Second City In Wyoming To Bring Yeezy Production To The US

Apparently, Ye wasn’t a fan of traditional advertising. Instead, he wanted the cash, and he would take it from there. 

Per the NY Times: 

“Mr. West, who objected to advertising and other traditional promotion, had insisted that Adidas’s money was better spent on anything that drew public attention to him. So the executives had agreed to replace the Yeezy marketing budget with a $100 million annual fund that Mr. West could spend with less oversight.”

10. The start of the ending…

In September 2022 while Ya made wild public demands of adidas, he thought it was a good idea to show the execs he was meeting with pornography to bolster the point that he was being exploited. That didn’t work out too well.

11. The Aftermath

The Aftermath Source:Getty

Despite officially cutting ties with Ye on October 25, 2022, he was still entitled to arbitration. Part of the agreement with adidas was to release the remaining stock of adidas Yeezy product, reportedly worth north of $1 billion. While part of the revenue goes to the Anti-Defamation League and an organization created by George Floyd’s family, most goes to adidas, and Ye gets 15% of that. Through June, they made a cool $437 million, which also pushed adidas into better financial footing. What a time. 

But most of the revenue would go to Adidas, and Mr. West was entitled to royalties.

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 17: A fashion week guest seen wearing red adidas yeezy shoes, outside paul and joe during London Fashion Week September 2022 on September 17, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Jeremy Moeller/Getty Images)