Musician and clothing designer Kanye West, who now goes by Ye, has long been a controversial figure. But in these past couple weeks, he has made some truly dangerous statements. It began in his entrance to his show at Paris Fashion Week in early October, where he sported a “White Lives Matter” shirt. The show also featured Black models in this shirt. This slogan has ties to a Neo-Nazi group, and has been used as a racist response to the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
Shortly after, the rapper incited controversy again upon posting antisemitic remarks and rhetoric on his Twitter and Instagram, including threatening to go “death con 3” on Jewish people. Since this, he has used interviews to double down on such sentiments. Below are the companies who have responded by cutting ties, some swiftly, some after deliberation, and other backlash his actions have faced.
Though they had no prior working relationship with Ye, Skechers has also repudiated the artist. On Wednesday, Ye showed up “unannounced and without invitation at one of Skechers’ corporate offices in Los Angeles,” per a company press release, and was filming without authorization. Two company executives “escorted him and his party from the building after a brief conversation.” In a statement, the company was unequivocal: “Skechers is not considering and has no intention of working with West. We condemn his recent divisive remarks and do not tolerate antisemitism or any other form of hate speech. The Company would like to again stress that West showed up unannounced and uninvited to Skechers corporate offices.”
The German sportswear company cut ties with Ye on Wednesday morning. They had formerly been working on a line of sneakers together with Ye’s Yeezy brand. This move will cost the brand a whopping $246 million, and will take immediate effect. This includes ending all payments to Ye, and ending the production of any Yeezy products. In a statement, the company affirmed, “adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech. 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.” The move, according to Forbes, has resulted in Ye no longer being a billionaire.
The Hollywood talent agency CAA also stopped representing Ye as of Monday, Oct. 24. The agency, whose name stands for Creative Artists Agency, represents talent in various artistic entertainment fields and sports. After departing from the agency for UTA for a year in 2015, Ye returned to CAA in 2016 for worldwide representation. Other well-known Hollywood talent agencies such as WME and UTA have indicated support for ending working relationships with Ye.
The retail giant had previously ended their relationship with Ye in September, after originally planning a 10-year partnership. This occurred after West accused the company of breaking its contract with him, which was, according to him, supposed to include physical stores. Wednesday, Gap announced that they are immediately pulling all Yeezy Gap Products from stores, and are shutting down YeezyGap.com.
The fashion house has separated from Ye, after a relationship that was reportedly a very close one, with Ye and the brand’s designer Demna said to be texting several times a day. Kering, the public french luxury group that owns the brand, released a statement to Women’s Wear Daily, saying: “Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist.”
Conservative pundit Candace Owens broke this news in a tweet on Oct. 12, with a screenshot of a letter in which the bank ended its relationship with Yeezy and all affiliated entities, and asked Ye to find another bank before Nov. 21. The letter was confirmed by Billboard, and dated to Sept. 20, which was some time before Kanye wore a “White Lives Matter” shit to his recent Paris Fashion Week show at the beginning of October, and his recent antisemitic comments scattered across various platforms. Ye had also voiced criticisms of various senior executives and CEO Jamie Dimon, telling Bloomberg in reference to the bank, “I feel like there’s a lot of controlling and handling to suppress my ability to affect the American economy and industry.”
The film and television studio has decided that it will completely scrap a recently completed documentary on Ye. In a statement, MRC’s co-leaders Modi Wiczyk, Asif Satchu and Scott Tenley said, “We cannot support any content that amplifies his platform.” It will not be distributed in any form. Their statement includes direct address of his antisemitic remarks, and clearly explains the misinformation and danger behind them.
Other Notable Updates
Talking with Bloomberg, Ye further noted broadly that he was done partnering with corporations, noting that he and the companies had made each other money, and that, “We created ideas that will change apparel forever.” But now, he says that is at an end: “Now it’s time for Ye to make the new industry. No more companies standing between me and the audience.”
Additionally, an episode of the YouTube talk show The Shop: Uninterrupted on which Ye appeared is now going unaired. Produced by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, the episode featured Ye alongside Jeezy and shoe designer Salehe Bembury. According to the producers, the reason for shelving the episode was due to Ye perpetuating “more hate speech and extremely dangerous stereotypes” on the show. The producers refused to reveal what he said, not wanting to give harmful comments more of a platform.
Ye was also suspended from Twitter and Instagram for an undisclosed period of time. The social media platforms don’t allow offensive language, and removed posts of his for violating their guidelines. His posts in question contained antisemitic sentiments. After nearly two years off Twitter, Ye had rejoined it on Saturday, Oct. 8, before being suspended from it on Oct. 10. He has since agreed in principle to buy Parler, a conservative social media platform. Parler released a statement of Ye’s in which he said, “In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves.”
Celebrities such as Jack Antonoff, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ariana Grande, Questlove, Ye’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian and her sister Khloe, among others, have also spoken out against West’s hate speech.
Rosa Sofia Kaminski is a Paste Music intern, writer, climber of trees and collector of odd treasures that she quickly loses, and is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She can be reached at @rosa.sofia.k on Instagram.