German retail giant Adidas was one of the last of a slew of companies that cut partnership ties with Kanye West after his antisemitic tropes on special media about Jewish financial control. Companies from Balenciaga to Creative Artists Agency (CAA) severed deals with West, who changed his name to Ye. Some say Adidas was pushed to end its very lucrative deal due to its own antisemitic past and former ties to the German Nazi Party.
German sportswear brand Adidas ended its long-running partnership with the Grammy Award-winning artist, stopping production of Yeezy-branded products. Terminating the partnership will cost it at least $250 million this year, Adidas said. The development also cost West his billionaire status, knocking his fortune back to $400 million, according to Forbes.
“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the brand said in a statement. “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.”
Adidas faced pressure given its historical association with Germany’s Nazi Party, Time reported.
It seems the founders of Adidas, brothers Adolf “Adi” and Rudolf “Rudi” Dassler, were members of the Nazi party, Time reported. They joined the antisemitic organization in 1933, the same year Adolf Hitler became Chancellor. In 1924, brothers Adi and Rudi founded Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory), The Independent reported.
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The brothers signed their letters “Heil Hitler,” and German athletes wore the brothers’ shoes during the infamous 1936 “Nazi Olympics” in Berlin. Oddly, Adi Dassler also provided sneakers to African-American track star Jesse Owens, who made a record-setting performance and took home the gold medals in the 100-meter sprint, 200-meter sprint, long jump, and 4×100 relay.
After World War II, the brothers were scrutinized for their Nazi ties and Rudi was arrested on suspicion he fed information to the Nazi and was briefly sent to a POW camp, The Independent reported.
The Adidas corporate site says the company officially launched in 1949; that was when the brothers went their separate ways with Adi focusing on Adidas and Rudi going on to launch Puma.
Many German businesses in the 1930 were drawn to Nazi economic policy, considering it good for business since Germany under the Nazis achieved “the fastest recovery from the depression of any industrialized country,” Peter Hayes, an expert on the conduct of Germany’s largest corporations during the Third Reich and emeritus professor of History at Northwestern University, told Time. “Every major firm that you’ve ever heard of in Germany, that is still around and was around then, was implicated in the crimes of the Nazi state.”
Clothing company Hugo Boss, for example, expanded its business by making the uniforms for SS officers.
“[Adidas] didn’t make anything vital to the Nazi program until the plant was converted to making munitions during the war, like most German producers of things people wore,” Hayes pointed out. “The firm almost certainly didn’t make the munitions.”
CEO of German sports equipment company Adidas AG, Kasper Rorsted, poses prior to the annual balance news conference in Herzogenaurach, Germany, March 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)Rapper Kanye West wears a Make America Great again hat during a meeting with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Oct. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)/Adidas founders Adolf Dassler, left, and Rudolf Dassler, right. Source: Facebook