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New Adidas CEO defends Kanye West after antisemitism scandal

Ella Scott

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New Adidas CEO defends Kanye West after antisemitism scandal

Featured Image Credit: Brad Barket/Getty Images for Fast Company / Nina Westervelt/WWD via Getty Images

The new CEO of Adidas has supported Kanye West after he was dropped by the sportswear brand last year.

Bjørn Gulden was appointed as the CEO of Adidas on January 1 2023, and was not employed by the company when the ‘Stronger’ rapper was exiled from the brand.

West - who goes by Ye nowadays - was hoisted out of Adidas after 10 years, due to the fact that he took to social media to make offensive comments about the Jewish community.

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Following the antisemitism argument, 58-year-old Gulden appeared on the In Good Company podcast to discuss his true feelings on the ‘Gold Digger’ star.

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He prefaced his comments by saying that what transpired was ‘before his time’ at the helm of Adidas.

He said: “I think Kanye West is one of the most creative people in the world, both in music and what I would call street culture.

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“He’s extremely creative and together they created the Yeezy line which was very successful."

Following the termination of Adidas and West’s partnership, his Yeezy shoe line was thrown out. At this time, it still does not have a commercial home.

Gulden, who has almost 30 years of experience in the sporting goods and footwear industry, then went on to address the antisemitic comments West made.

The businessman was named CEO of Adidas earlier this year. Credit: Bjørn Gulden/@bjoern_gulden
The businessman was named CEO of Adidas earlier this year. Credit: Bjørn Gulden/@bjoern_gulden
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He said: “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.

“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."

Speaking about how losing Yeezy impacted Adidas, Gulden said: “That meant we lost that business. One of the most successful collabs in history – very sad.

“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.”

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Ye lost his brand deal with Adidas in October 2022. Credit: Fox 32/YouTube
Ye lost his brand deal with Adidas in October 2022. Credit: Fox 32/YouTube

As well as losing his Adidas collaboration, West was subsequently banned from X (formerly known as Twitter) before later being reinstated when Elon Musk bought the site.

At the time of the dissolved partnership, Adidas released a statement that said the company ‘does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech.’

It continued: “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."

Topics: Celebrity, Kanye West, Fashion

Ella Scott
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