Kanye West’s hits keep coming: Here are the companies that have cut ties with him
In early October, Ye, the rap artist and mogul also known as Kanye West, posed during Paris Fashion Week in a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt. He then embarked on a long-running litany of conspiracy-minded and antisemitic remarks on a variety of platforms. As a result, multiple businesses and others affiliated with Ye have been cutting ties with him.
Here’s a running list of entities that have recently left Ye in the dust — and one where he ended the deal first.
In mid-September, before the whole Paris Fashion Week debacle and after taking shots at the retail company on Instagram, Ye gave notice to Gap that he was terminating their contract.
“Notably, Gap does not dispute that it has failed for over two years to sell a single Product in a single Gap store, including any of its 500+ stories in America,” the notice West shared on Instagram said. “Nor does Gap dispute that it has failed for over two years to open a single dedicated store anywhere in the world.”
In a two-hour podcast interview with MIT research scientist Lex Fridman, West continued his run of hateful, antisemitic remarks.
Instagram and Twitter
The two social media companies suspended Ye on Oct. 10 after a series of antisemitic posts that included an Instagrammed screen shot of a text conversation with Sean “Diddy” Combs where Ye accused Diddy of being controlled by Jewish people. On Twitter, the rapper threatened via Twitter to “go death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” fumbling the “DEFCON” label of the United States’ defense-condition readiness alert system.
Both companies said they had removed offensive content posted by Ye and had restricted his accounts. Access to the @kanyewest Instagram account was restored — at least for the time being — by Oct. 27, while his Twitter account showed no posts since Oct. 8.
Kanye West was dropped by Adidas and his talent agency, after ‘brazen’ and ‘unapologetic’ antisemitic rhetoric.
Conservative pundit Candace Owens, who posed in a “White Lives Matter” shirt with Ye in Paris, tweeted Oct. 12 that Ye had been “kicked out” by JPMorgan Chase Bank. She included a redacted letter with the subject line “IMPORTANT: Closing of Our Banking Relationship.”
“I was told there was no official reason given, but they sent this letter as well to confirm that he has until late November to find another place for the Yeezy empire to bank,” Owens wrote.
‘Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist,’ the brand’s parent firm Kering said in a statement.
Ye had a 10-album contract with Def Jam that was fulfilled after the release of “Donda” in August 2021. A person familiar with the deal confirmed to The Times on Oct. 16 that the rapper is now a free agent. The label is also reportedly no longer distributing releases from the rapper’s Getting Out Our Dreams (G.O.O.D.) imprint.
It remains uncertain whether any major recording company, some of which are publicly traded, would take West after his recent outbursts — even with his string of 10 consecutive No. 1 albums. He could always release his next effort without a record company’s backing, like he did in February with “Donda 2,” available only via his $200 Stem streaming gizmo.
The design house, which had West walking in its Paris Fashion Week show a day before his “White Lives Matter” fashion statement, cut ties with him on Oct. 21. Balenciaga and its creative director, Demna, collaborated with and inspired West in the past, and “engineered” his Yeezy Gap collaboration.
“Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist,” the brand’s parent firm, Kering, said in a brief statement.
CAA, one of Hollywood’s biggest talent agencies, has stopped representing the artist formerly known as Kanye West.
The Times reported Oct. 24 that talent agency CAA ended its relationship with Ye this month following his recent antisemitic outbursts in various interviews. CAA had represented the rapper only for touring, and he hadn’t toured since signing with them in 2016.
Separately, Ari Emanuel, chief executive of talent agency WME, called for Spotify and Apple to de-platform West. He urged Adidas to end its relationship with Ye and called on Parler not to sell the platform to the performer.
“Those who continue to do business with West are giving his misguided hate an audience,” Emanuel wrote in an Oct. 19 opinion piece in the Financial Times. “There should be no tolerance anywhere for West’s anti-Semitism.”
MRC Entertainment has shelved a documentary about Kanye ‘Ye’ West after the rapper made a series of antisemitic remarks in recent weeks.
Shortly after CAA’s move went public, film and television production company MRC declared it would shelve a completed documentary about West rather than distribute it.
“We cannot support any content that amplifies his platform,” MRC executives said in a statement on Oct. 24. “The silence from leaders and corporations when it comes to Kanye or antisemitism in general is dismaying but not surprising. What is new and sad, is the fear Jews have about speaking out in their own defense.”
Ye’s statements at his Paris Fashion Week show and immediately after unnerved Adidas, which has collaborated on the Yeezy shoe collection and faced pressure on social media and elsewhere. The company issued a statement later that week, saying, “After repeated efforts to privately resolve the situation, we have taken the decision to place the partnership under review.”
The rapper-entrepreneur responded on Instagram, writing, “F— ADIDAS I AM ADIDAS ADIDAS RAPED AND STOLE MY DESIGNS.”
After a week in which West promoted antisemitism and white supremacy, his business partners, from Adidas to Def Jam, may be distancing themselves from the star.
Then, on Oct. 25, Adidas announced that it had ended its relationship with Ye after a “thorough review” of the relationship. It said it would immediately stop production of its line of Yeezy products and stop payments to Ye and his companies. It expects to take a hit of up to $246 million to its net income this year from the move.
Later on Oct. 25, Foot Locker announced that it was pulling Yeezys from its sales floors and asking employees to hold them in stores’ backrooms pending further instruction, according to Footwear News.
Fears that antisemitic remarks by Kanye West would spur additional bigotry came to fruition in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Jaylen Brown and Aaron Donald / Donda Sports
Boston Celtics star forward Brown was one of the big-name athletes who signed with West’s marketing agency, Donda Sports. On Oct. 24, he denounced Ye’s antisemitic comments but said he was sticking with the agency. The next day, he had changed his mind.
“I now recognize that there are times when my voice and my position can’t coexist in spaces that don’t correspond with my stance or my values. And, for that reason, I am terminating my association with Donda Sports,” he said in a statement.
Holocaust Museum LA said it’s been the target of antisemitic hate after rapper Kanye West rejected the museum’s invitation for a private tour.
Donald, of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, followed soon after.
“The recent comments and displays of hate and antisemitism are the exact opposite of how we choose to live our lives and raise our children...,” he and his wife, Erica, said in a statement. “As parents and members of society, we felt a responsibility to send a clear message that hateful words and actions have consequences and that we must do better as human beings.”
The stationary-bike and exercise-subscription company is no longer using West’s music in the soundtrack for its products.
“We take this issue very seriously and can confirm Peloton indefinitely paused the use of Kanye West’s music on our platform,” Peloton told website Pelobuddy on Oct. 25. “This means our instructors are no longer using his music in any newly produced classes and we are not suggesting any class that includes his music in our proactive recommendations to Members.”
Kanye West’s antisemitism has cost him a lucrative business relationship with Adidas — and it has hurt prices of the controversial musician’s once-coveted Yeezy sneakers and apparel on the secondary market.
The company added that the decision was made “immediately following” West’s remarks. Peloton’s statement came a day after senior instructor Alex Toussaint said at the end of a class, “You will not hear that artist in my class at all, I promise y’all. I do not support hate speech whatsoever, baby. I don’t tolerate that s— at all, alright? You will not hear that artist in my class, I promise you.”
TJX Companies — which operates the chain of off-price retailers T.J. Maxx, Home Goods and Marshalls, among others — said Oct. 26 that it has stopped procuring surplus Yeezy items.
“At TJX we do not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or hate of any kind. We have instructed our buying teams not to purchase this merchandise for sale in any of our stores globally,” the retailer said in a statement to CNNBusiness.
An unannounced Kanye West wasn’t negotiating a post-Adidas home for his Yeezy shoes when he was escorted out of Skechers’ corporate offices Wednesday.
This private Christian K-12 prep school didn’t exactly cut ties with Ye — it’s his academy — but it did reportedly shut down Oct. 27 for the rest of the school year. The Times is working to confirm the status of the prep school, where tuition is around $15,000 a year.
“We intend to begin afresh in September of 2023, and we are confident that our scholars will continue to advance as the creative innovators, courageous influencers and academic leaders of the next generation,” principal Jason Angell wrote in an email obtained by TMZ that was sent to parents the night of Oct. 26. It said the Donda leadership team would assist all families during the “transition.”
A second email obtained by TMZ that was sent four hours later said it was from a parents group. It reportedly asked parents and staff — but not students — to “Join us tomorrow morning [Oct. 27] in worship for the return of Donda Academy. With the help of our parents and community, we are back and returning with a vengeance.”
Ye, formerly Kanye West, may be a musical savant, but he is now defined by fashion fallouts, antisemitism, a Kardashian divorce, album delays, right-wing politics and business disconnects.
The school’s boys basketball team, the Doves, was dropped Oct. 26 from two high school tournaments: the prestigious Spalding Hoophall Classic and the showcase Play by Play Classics. The team has been coached by NBA veteran Dorell Wright.
Madame Tussauds London
Tourists to the famous wax museum’s London location won’t get to pose by a model of the rapper: Ye’s been moved to an archive, according to the BBC. (A spokeswoman for the museum’s Hollywood location said Thursday that it doesn’t have and has not had a Kanye West statue on site.)
Times staff writers Anousha Sakoui and Wendy Lee and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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