It comes after reports that the footwear giant would lose out on $1.3 billion in profits.
Adidas have announced their plans to sell off its $1.2 billion worth of Kanye West’s Yeezy shoes, with a majority percent of its profits being shared amongst two very relevant charities.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Adidas’ unsold Yeezy stock would cost the footwear giant a brutal ten figures in lost profit. They severed ties with West last October following the rapper’s infamous string of racist and antisemitic comments.
In a public statement made on Friday (May 19), Adidas confirmed it would start selling the last remaining Yeezys in its inventory at the end of the month. A “significant amount” of profits, the company says, will “be donated to selected organizations working to combat discrimination and hate, including racism and antisemitism”.
Two charities were listed by name: the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute For Social Change. The latter charity was founded by the brother of George Floyd – a Black man murdered in an act of police brutality in 2020, who West made inflammatory comments about last year. Floyd’s family are currently suing West for $250 million over the incident.
“After careful consideration, we have decided to begin releasing some of the remaining Adidas Yeezy products,” Bjørn Gulden (CEO of Adidas) said in a statement alongside Friday’s news. “Selling and donating was the preferred option among all organizations and stakeholders we spoke to.
“We believe this is the best solution as it respects the created designs and produced shoes, it works for our people, resolves an inventory problem, and will have a positive impact in our communities. There is no place in sport or society for hate of any kind and we remain committed to fighting against it.”
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In a statement of his own, Jonathan A. Greenblatt (CEO of the ADL) said his organisation welcomed Adidas’ move. “At a time when antisemitism has reached historic levels in the U.S. and is rising globally, we appreciate how Adidas turned a negative situation into a very positive outcome,” he said. “They have shown real thoughtfulness in engaging with community organizations working to combat this pernicious and stubborn hatred.
“Their leadership, in not only condemning anti-Jewish hate but lending their support for education and other initiatives, is exemplary and a model for other public companies to emulate. We thank them for their ongoing dialogue around their remaining inventory and their vested interest in tackling issues of prejudice and hate.”
Adidas’ contribution to Floyd’s charity will come by way of a direct partnership, the company states, with which it will “drive Community programs through sport and education, working together to leave a lasting legacy”. The company has also opened up expressions of interest for “organisations interested in proposing projects aimed at combating discrimination and hate through sports”.
West’s fall from grace spanned much of the last few months in 2022, starting with his “White Lives Matter” stunt at a Yeezy fashion show. He was later booted off Instagram and Twitter – multiple times each – for inciting violence and spreading hateful, bigoted rhetoric. The disgraced rapper’s record label also dropped him last October, as did virtually every other company he had ties to.