ADL Letter to Adidas Executives Regarding Kanye West

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Kasper Rorsted
Chief Executive Officer

Thomas Rabe
Chairman-Supervisory Board

World of Sports
Adi-Dassler-Straße 1
91074 Herzogenaurach

Dear Mr. Rorsted and Mr. Rabe:

In light of Kanye West’s increasingly strident antisemitic remarks over the past few weeks, we were disturbed to learn that Adidas plans to continue to release new products from his Yeezy brand without any seeming acknowledgement of the controversy surrounding his most recent remarks. Two weeks ago, after he wore a White Lives Matter shirt, Adidas said he was under review. At this point, what more do you need to review? We were particularly alarmed to see that the Adidas brand intends to release new products in the Yeezy line, including the Yeezy Boost 350, in the run-up to the anniversary of the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre on Oct. 27 – the most violent antisemitic attack in U.S. history.

As I’m sure you are aware, Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has recently used his media presence and social influence to espouse antisemitic tropes about Jewish intimidation, power and control. Among other antisemitic statements, Ye has blamed “Jewish media” and “Jewish Zionists” for numerous alleged misdeeds, claiming that the “Jewish people have owned the Black voice,” and that the “Jewish community, especially in the music industry, they’ll take us and milk us till we die.” Such notions are deeply embedded in age-old antisemitic myths about Jewish greed and power and control of the entertainment industry.

Moreover, during an Oct. 17 interview with Chris Cuomo on NewsNation, Ye criticized the so called “Jewish underground media mafia” and alleged that “every celebrity has Jewish people in their contract.” This article on our website chronicles his other virulently antisemitic statements from Ye in recent weeks.

At a time of rising antisemitism, when incidents in the U.S. reached an all-time high in 2021, such statements are more than damning – they are dangerous. Many other celebrities, as well as some corporations and pundits have joined ADL in calling out his hateful rhetoric. We hope that more companies, individuals, and political leaders will take action to show that there will be consequences for such hateful rhetoric and that they do not give Ye’s antisemitism a pass.

This is why we are surprised and concerned that Adidas – a brand that supports inclusion and diversity – continues not only to support the Ye product line, but to release new products even as he continues to espouse hateful antisemitic ideas to his 31 million Twitter followers, and as those noxious ideas spread across social media and around the world thanks to his outsized media presence and celebrity status.

In light of all of this, we urge Adidas to reconsider supporting the Ye product line and to issue a statement making clear that the Adidas company and community has no tolerance whatsoever for antisemitism. I’d be more than happy to discuss this matter with you at your convenience. We stand ready to work with you in whatever way possible to ensure that antisemitism has no place in Adidas.


Jonathan A. Greenblatt
CEO and National Director
Anti-Defamation League

cc: Jan Runau, Chief Corporate Communication Officer