Björn Gulden, the CEO of Adidas, has issued a public apology following his remarks about rapper Ye’s past anti-Semitic statements. Gulden expressed deep regret for his «erroneous statement» and conveyed his apologies to Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The apology was made public on X (formerly Twitter), and Adidas has officially confirmed it.
Gulden’s comments had sparked significant controversy after his appearance on the ‘In Good Company’ podcast last week. During the podcast, he suggested that Kanye West, now known as Ye, may not have genuinely meant the anti-Semitic statements he made in the previous year.
Ye faced severe criticism for a deleted Twitter post in the fall of 2022, in which he mentioned his intentions to target Jews. This controversy prompted Adidas to abruptly terminate its lucrative partnership with the rapper and discontinue the «Yeezy» trainer collection.
In his formal apology, Björn Gulden reaffirmed Adidas’s strong opposition to the «abhorrent hatred expressed by Ye» last autumn. Gulden assumed his role as the CEO of Adidas at the beginning of this year, inheriting this sensitive issue that had negatively impacted the company’s reputation and financial performance. The decision to halt the sale of Yeezy trainers resulted in a revenue loss of €1.2 billion.
An Adidas spokesperson reiterated the company’s unwavering stance, stating, «Our decision to sever ties with Ye due to his unacceptable comments and behavior was unequivocally the right one. Our position remains unchanged: hatred in any form has no place in sports or society, and we remain resolute in our commitment to combat it.»
Adidas has commenced the sale of surplus Yeezy stock that had been removed from store shelves. The initial wave of sales in May generated approximately €400 million in revenue, with the results of a subsequent operation in August to be disclosed later. A portion of the proceeds, amounting to €110 million, has been allocated to organizations dedicated to combating racism and anti-Semitism, including the ADL, as previously announced by Adidas.