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Business

Adidas boss apologizes for controversial Ye comments

Agence France-Presse
Adidas boss apologizes for controversial Ye comments
This file combination of photos created on Oct. 25, 2022 shows Kanye West attending the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills on Feb. 10, 2020 (L) and the logo of German sports equipment maker Adidas on a shop in Munich, southern Germany, on March 10, 2021. Adidas said on November 24, 2022 it was investigating claims against Kanye West after a report detailed alleged inappropriate behavior, just weeks after the German sportswear giant ended its partnership with the rapper. US magazine Rolling Stone said former members of the team involved in "Yeezy" -- the successful product line designed with the rapper -- had released a letter alleging Adidas leaders were aware of the behavior, which went on for years, but turned a blind eye.
AFP / Christof Stache, Jean-Baptiste Lacroix

FRANKFURT, Germany — The head of Adidas has apologized after speculating that Kanye West did not "mean what he said" with anti-Semitic remarks that put an end to his collaboration with the German sportswear brand.

Bjorn Gulden, who joined Adidas at the beginning of 2023 after the scandal erupted, made the comments last week in an interview with the podcast "In Good Company".

West -- now formally known as Ye -- had made "some statements, which wasn't that good", Gulden told the podcast.

"Very unfortunate, because I don't think he meant what he said and I don't think he's a bad person –- it just came across that way," Gulden said.

The Norwegian CEO subsequently apologised for his remarks, after they provoked a public uproar.

"Our decision to end our partnership with Ye due to his unacceptable comments was absolutely the right one. Our attitude has not changed," Adidas said in a statement to AFP Friday. 

Gulden had "apologised for his misstatement", the head of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The CEO spoke to the ADL chief and "reiterated that Adidas is committed to fighting anti-Semitism", Greenblatt said.

Since parting ways with Ye, Adidas has been selling off its stock of highly sought-after Yeezy branded items, the fruit of its collaboration with the rapper.

Part of the proceeds from the sales, are going to organisations such as the ADL and the Philonise and Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change.

Adidas set aside 110 million euros ($117 million) in the second quarter for donations to charities.

The end of Adidas's lucrative partnership with the rapper last October has added to the sportswear giant's recent troubles. 

The group recorded a modest profit of 84 million euros between April and June this year, following two consecutive quarters of losses.  

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