Adidas stuck with Yeezy sneakers worth more than $500m after cutting ties with Kanye West, report says

Adidas has been unable to sell its inventory of Yeezy sneakers worth more than $500m after cutting ties with Kanye West, a new report says.

The German sportswear brand is now trying to sell the Yeezy items under its own brand name “minimise potential losses,” according to the Financial Times. The publication also said Yeezy accounted for 7 per cent of Adidas sales this year, totaling $1.8bn in sales.

In October, Adidas ended its partnership with Kanye West following the rapper’s several antisemitic comments.

“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company said in a statement at the time. “Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”

Along with Adidas, both Balenciaga and Gap severed its partnership with West after he made a number of comments targeted at Jewish people – claiming was going to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE”.

Following the loss of Yeezy’s partnership with Adidas, Forbes stripped Ye of his billionaire status from $2bn (£1.74bn) to $400m (£348m).

Despite cutting ties, Adidas has said it will continue to sell shoes that were designed in collaboration with Kanye West without the Yeezy brand. Adidas executives maintained it was the “sole owner” of design rights and upcoming colour ways, and intended to make use of them next year.

“Adidas is the sole owner of all design rights registered to existing products. We intend to make use of these rights as early as 2023,” said Adidas’ chief financial officer, Harm Ohlmeyer.

Last month, Adidas announced it will launch “an independent investigation” into claims West showed explicit images of his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, to Adidas employees. A Rolling Stone magazine report accused the rapper and fashion designer of showing a potential new hire an “intimate” photograph of Kardashian during a job interview in 2018, while he was still married to the reality TV star.

West, who is legally known as Ye, is said to have shown the person a “very revealing and personal” photo on his phone, telling them: “My wife just sent me this.”

The claims were made in an open letter by “prominent former members of the Yeezy team”, which was sent to Adidas’ executive board members with the authors reportedly urging Adidas to address the “toxic and chaotic environment that Kanye West created”.

The Financial Times report comes after NBC News said West’s brand, Yeezy, owed $600,000 in unpaid taxes to the state of California. The state of California has issued multiple tax liens over the last two years to Yeezy Apparel, the first notice letter being sent in July 2021, followed by one in February and in September of this year.

Meanwhile, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian reached a divorce settlement in November which included $200k (£167k) per month in child support payments from West to Kardashian.

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