Adidas CEO Believes Kanye’s Antisemitic Remarks Were Not Intentional
By Adeke Chukwuka
Adidas CEO Bjorn Gulden believes Kanye West, formerly known as Ye, didn’t genuinely intend the antisemitic statements he made last year, which led to the termination of their profitable partnership.
Gulden expressed that he doesn’t view Kanye as a malicious individual and believes the statements were misunderstood.
Gulden praised Ye as one of the world’s most creative individuals, acknowledging his significant contributions to music and street culture. He also lauded the Yeezy line of sneakers created by Adidas and Ye as one of the industry’s most successful collaborations.
Gulden, who was the CEO of Puma SE at the time of the scandal, assumed his role at Adidas after the split with Ye.
He discussed the matter in a comprehensive conversation with Nicolai Tangen on the “In Good Company” podcast, which is run by Norges Bank, a major investor in Adidas, and oversees Norway’s $1.4 trillion sovereign wealth fund. Despite both being Norwegian, they conducted the conversation in English.
Nicolai Tangen, who commended Gulden as an impressive leader, inquired about the series of crises Adidas faced in the years prior to Gulden’s appointment.
These included the controversial and offensive behaviour of Ye, which Adidas was criticised for not swiftly condemning. Ye’s actions encompassed wearing a White Lives Matter shirt at a Yeezy fashion show in Paris and making a series of antisemitic remarks, including a disturbing post about Jewish people.
Since taking the helm at Adidas, Gulden has led the company’s transition away from the Ye era and the sale of its remaining Yeezy inventory, potentially valued at up to $1.3 billion.
Gulden acknowledged that such situations can arise when collaborating with third parties like entertainers or athletes, viewing it as a natural aspect of the business. Adidas maintains its stance that ending the partnership with Ye was the appropriate decision.
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