Adidas president announces partnership with ADL after Kanye West uproar

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

A sign advertises Yeezy shoes made by Adidas at Kickclusive, a sneaker resale store, in Paramus, New Jersey, October 25, 2022 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
A sign advertises Yeezy shoes made by Adidas at Kickclusive, a sneaker resale store, in Paramus, New Jersey, October 25, 2022 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Adidas says the company will partner with the Anti-Defamation League to combat antisemitism and hatred after a major controversy over the company’s partnership with antisemite Kanye West.

The sportswear company severed its partnership with West, who now goes by Ye, after a heavy pressure campaign that involved the ADL.

The collaboration accounted for a significant part of Adidas’s revenue and the company only cut ties with West after other major companies did, and after a steep dip in the Adidas stock price.

Adidas North America president Rupert Campbell announces the effort and speaks out against antisemitism in an address to the Jewish community at the annual ADL summit in New York City.

“We acknowledge that we don’t always get things right. We’re not perfect but in this case we know without a doubt that we made the right decision,” Campbell says.

“The racist and antisemitic hate speech by our former partner violated our values. We took action to begin dismantling the partnership. This took time given the complexity of the partnership but we remain committed to living our values,” Campbell says.

“There is no place for antisemitism, racism, and hatred within sport, within Adidas or within society,” Campbell says.

“I want to say this loud and clear to everybody. We continue to stand with the Jewish community in the fight against antisemitism and all communities around the world who face injustice and discrimination,” he says, announcing a new “collaboration” with the ADL to oppose hatred.

ADL chief Jonathan Greenblatt celebrates the partnership by showing off a new pair of Samba sneakers.

Greenblatt attributes some of the rising antisemitism in the US to “entertainers with messiah complexes.”

Besides West, the NBA star Kyrie Irving has promoted an antisemitic film in recent weeks and avoided renouncing antisemitism.

Amazon has come under pressure to remove the film, which has surged in popularity on its platforms.

Greenblatt at the summit blasts “major streaming platforms that are little more than the kind of propaganda that Goebbels would lovingly approve.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams in a speech to the summit also links some recent antisemitic incidents to “misguided celebrities and athletes.”

“All of these incidents [were] because antisemitic tropes and beliefs were promoted by famous people. Last year we saw the highest number of antisemitic incidents on record in the United States,” Adams says. “This is the uncomfortable truth about hate in our society. It is being normalized and it is being spread from one community to the next.”

“People are learning to hate again,” Adams says.

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