Adidas should have foreseen the controversial behavior of Kanye West, as it has now emerged that during one of his early meetings with the company in 2013, he drew a swastika on a shoe sketch. This shocking revelation comes from a recent report by The New York Times.
Kanye West’s controversial actions during a 2013 Adidas meeting, including drawing a swastika and praising Hitler, have come to light. The subsequent fallout resulted in Adidas terminating its partnership with Kanye, leading to significant financial losses for the company.
The Swastika Drawing that Shocked Everyone
According to the report, shortly after joining forces with Adidas, Kanye was presented with various shoe sketches that did not meet his approval. In response, he picked up a marker and drew a swastika over one of the sketches. The incident took place in a location near Nuremberg, which added to the shock value considering its historical significance as the site where Nazi war criminals stood trial after World War II.
Praising Hitler and Spreading Antisemitic Beliefs
However, the swastika drawing was just the beginning of Kanye’s troubling behavior. The NYT report reveals that in subsequent meetings, he advised a Jewish Adidas manager to kiss a picture of Adolf Hitler every day. Moreover, Kanye repeatedly praised Hitler as a “master marketer” and admired his command of propaganda. These disturbing antisemitic beliefs began to cast a dark cloud over Kanye’s association with Adidas.
Adidas’ Relationship with Kanye and the Fallout
Despite Kanye West’s divisive rhetoric, Adidas remained in partnership with him for nearly a decade, enjoying financial success with his Yeezy brand. However, in 2022, Kanye’s public expression of his antisemitic beliefs led Adidas to sever all ties with him. The company invoked a morals clause that had been included in a 2016 contract negotiation, which ultimately resulted in a loss of a billion dollars in revenue for Adidas.
Adidas’ decision to cut ties with Kanye also had personal repercussions for the artist. His billionaire status was stripped away, and he faced the consequences of losing other lucrative partnerships as a result. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of recognizing and addressing problematic behavior within the world of celebrity collaborations, even one as successful as the Kanye-Adidas partnership.