Kanye West’s week has gone from weird to bad to sad to meme, real quick. After emerging as the unlikeliest alt-right hero since a sad cartoon frog, the rapper/designer showed up at the TMZ offices to say some wild and ignorant things about slavery, and according to Business of Fashion, Adidas (predictably) isn’t thrilled with their marquee ambassador.
As the story notes, “The performer sparked outrage on social media… in an interview with TMZ this week [when he said] ‘When you hear about slavery for 400 years — 400 years? That sounds like a choice.’”
And while the company says that it “has not discussed dropping the rapper as a designer,” Kasper Rorsted, Adidas AG’s CEO, said that “there clearly are some comments we don’t support.”
(BTW, if they feel the need to say that they “haven’t discussed dropping” him, that means they’ve 100 percent discussed dropping him.)
As Rorsted told BoF, “West is very important to the German sportswear maker’s strategy… highlighting the tricky balance companies have to strike when their celebrity brand ambassadors veer off the script.”
While his importance is hard to quantify — his shoes are released in limited runs, but sell out in minutes, providing something Rorsted called “brand heat” (re: hype) — it’s impossible to imagine the company’s comeback over the last few years without his presence.
And what a comeback it’s been. The story notes that Adidas “overtook Nike’s Jordan as the No. 2 brand in U.S. sports footwear” and the fervor that Kanye’s endorsement generates has undoubtedly contributed.
You can read more about it at Business of Fashion.