Multiple corporations part ways with Kanye West following antisemitic remarks


David Persse | Flickr

Shyanne Reid

Companies continue to cut ties with Kanye West, who changed his name to “Ye,” following several antisemitic comments made by the rapper and fashion designer.

TJX Companies Inc., which operates department stores such as HomeGoods and TJ Maxx, is the latest corporation to announce they will no longer be selling products designed by the artist.

 “We do not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or hate of any kind,” the retailer said in a statement to CNN. “We have instructed our buying teams not to purchase this merchandise for sale in any of our stores globally.”

TJX followed several companies such as Adidas AG, which said it will end its nine-year relationship with the artist. Adidas says it will not accept any sort of hate speech.

“Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous,” the company said in a statement. “They violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”

Adidas expects the decision to have a negative impact of €250 million, or approximately $247.7 million, on its net income this year.

For Ye, the end of the partnership also means an end to his billionaire status. The Adidas deal accounted for $1.5 billion dollars of his net worth, without which his assets shrunk to $400 million, according to Forbes.

Gap Inc. and Foot Locker Inc. both said they will no longer sell Yeezy products in their stores. Gap also shut down, which sold products produced in collaboration between the fashion retailer and Ye.

“Our former partner’s recent remarks and behavior further underscore why we are taking immediate steps to remove Yeezy Gap products from our stores,” the retailer said in a statement to CNN.

Gap and Ye announced the end of what was to be a 10-year partnership in September.

Luxury fashion brand Balenciaga SA, which collaborated with Ye on the Yeezy Gap line, also said it will not work with the musician.

“Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist,” Kering SA, Balenciaga’s parent company, said in a statement to Women’s Wear Daily.

Ye’s business deals entered jeopardy in October after he debuted his “White Lives Matter” t-shirt at Paris Fashion Week. Days later in a tweet that has been removed, the musician said he would go “death con 3 on Jewish People.”

His controversial comments continued on an episode of “Drink Champs,” in which he alleged that George Floyd’s death was caused by fentanyl, not from suffocation due to the actions of police officers.

While major businesses parted ways with the artist due to his antisemitic comments, some fans say they are more concerned about his mental health. Ye was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016.

“It seems like he’s, you know, maybe having a breakdown or something,” Marcus Carter told The New York Times. “I more so worry about that, like how is he health wise.”

Others believe that Ye’s behavior could get worse in the future if it is continuously unchecked.

“Millions of people affected by mental illness do not perpetuate hateful ideologies,” Ari Emanuel, who is the CEO of the media agency Endeavor, wrote in an op-ed piece for The Financial Times. “Others brush his comments off as just words, but hateful words far too easily become hateful actions.”

Ye apologized for his antisemitic statements while on a podcast hosted by Lex Freidman. He said he has grown psychologically since making the statements.

“Even with freedom of speech pain is pain, causing people to hurt is not helping,” Ye said.

Two days after the podcast aired, Ye was turned away from Skechers USA Inc.’s corporate offices in Los Angeles after showing up uninvited. The company says it has no plans on collaborating with Ye.

“We condemn his recent divisive remarks and do not tolerate antisemitism or any other form of hate speech,” Skechers said in a statement.

The future of Ye’s private school Donda Academy is also suffering because of his comments.

The school’s invitation to participate in two prominent high school basketball games was revoked. The school emailed parents saying it would close for the rest of the 2022-2023 school year. In a follow-up email, the school announced it would be open on Friday.