- Adidas executive suggests possibility of working with Kanye West again despite his controversial past behavior and antisemitic comments.
- Bjørn Gulden, CEO of Adidas, believes that Kanye West is a creative person and not a bad person, attributing his comments to a misunderstanding.
- Adidas suffered a loss of one of the most successful collaborations in history and struggled to sell $530 million in Yeezys after terminating the relationship with Kanye West.
Kanye West’s antisemitic comments last fall got his billion-dollar collaboration with Adidas cancelled. However, an Adidas executive’s recent comments on Ye’s past behavior suggests the athletic wear company could be open to working with the controversial rapper again.
During an interview on the Norwegian podcast In Good Company, Adidas Chief Executive, Bjørn Gulden, who assumed his role in January after leaving Puma, provided insight into Kanye departure from the brand.
Gulden also addressed West's controversial comments, stating that West, despite his praise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, should not be perceived as a bad person—it was simply a misunderstanding.
“I think Kanye West is one of the most creative people in the world,” Gulden explained. “Both in music and what I call street culture. So he’s extremely creative and has together with Adi created a Yeezy line that was very successful. And then, as creative people, he did some statements, which wasn’t that good.”
“And that caused Adi to break the contract and withdraw the product,” the businessman continued. “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.”
“That meant we lost that business. One of the most successful collabs in history – very sad,” he went on. “But again, when you work with third parties, that could happen. It’s part of the game. That can happen with an athlete, it can happen with an entertainer. It’s part of the business.”
Gulden’s words follow a report made earlier this year that claimed Adidas was struggling to sell $530 million in Yeezys since terminating the relationship.
Adidas initially terminated the collaboration in October 2022, which prompted criticism for the delay in taking this action. In the subsequent month, the company announced its intention to maintain the sale of Yeezy products, but without Kanye West's participation, as they possess ownership of nearly all the associated trademarks.
For his part, Kanye is reportedly working on a career comeback while he tours Europe with his new partner, Bianca Censori, who’s apparently helping inspire new fashion and music. Moreover, he recently made Bianca his special power of attorney to take a leading role in his business dealings, though there’s been no word on whether Ye hopes to reconcile his business relationship with Adidas or not.
Kanye’s net worth is currently half a billion dollars – he lost this billionaire status after Adidas pulled the plug on their collaboration.