Adidas is ready to finally end its long, once lucrative and ultimately toxic relationship with Yeezy.
The German active giant said it would begin selling the remaining Yeezy inventory with an initial release at the end of the month at the brand’s adidas.com/yeezy website and on the Adidas Confirmed app.
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Adidas cut ties with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, last October after the rapper-turned-designer migrated from being a buzzy voice in fashion to making increasingly provocative statements to outright antisemitism.
The decision to drop Yeezy left the already challenged Adidas in a bind that went beyond how it would fill the hole left in its business to what it would do with the $1.3 billion worth of inventory in hand and on the way.
Adidas said its process included “seeking feedback and listening to a diverse group of employees, organizations, communities and consumers for how to responsibly manage the existing product.”
The company went ahead with orders that it already committed to so as to protect its suppliers. Ultimately it decided to sell the goods, with “a significant amount” of the proceeds to be donated to groups combating discrimination and hate, including the Anti-Defamation League and the Philonise and Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change.
Bjørn Gulden, who became chief executive officer of Adidas in January, said: “Selling and donating was the preferred option among all organizations and stakeholders we spoke to. We believe this is the best solution as it respects the created designs and produced shoes, it works for our people, resolves an inventory problem, and will have a positive impact in our communities. There is no place in sport or society for hate of any kind and we remain committed to fighting against it.”
Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said: “At a time when antisemitism has reached historic levels in the U.S. and is rising globally, we appreciate how Adidas turned a negative situation into a very positive outcome. They have shown real thoughtfulness in engaging with community organizations working to combat this pernicious and stubborn hatred. Their leadership, in not only condemning anti-Jewish hate but lending their support for education and other initiatives, is exemplary and a model for other public companies to emulate. We thank them for their ongoing dialogue around their remaining inventory and their vested interest in tackling issues of prejudice and hate.”
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