Adidas Chief Executive Bjorn Gulden has apologized for questioning whether Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, really meant the antisemitic statements he made last year.
Gulden characterized his comments from a recent podcast as a “misstatement” and said Adidas is committed to fighting antisemitism and “completely opposed to the ugly hate” that Ye expressed in the fall. The CEO’s remarks were conveyed in a post on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, by Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, who cited a conversation with Gulden.
Gulden had reignited the furor over the German company’s handling of the Ye situation with his comments on the “In Good Company” podcast last week. On that show, Gulden said that he didn’t think that Ye really meant the antisemitic statements he made last year that led the sneaker maker to terminate its lucrative Yeezy collaboration with the rapper and designer.
Ye’s actions included wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt at a Yeezy fashion show in Paris, and making a series of antisemitic remarks — at one point posting that he would go “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.”
At the time of the scandal, Gulden was CEO of Puma. He took over at Adidas in January, after the split with Ye.
“Our decision to end our partnership with Ye because of his unacceptable comments and behavior was absolutely the right one,” an Adidas spokesman said in an emailed statement Friday morning, confirming that the company has been in contact with the ADL. “Our stance has not changed: Hate of any kind has no place in sports or society, and we remain committed to fighting it.”
Since joining Adidas, Gulden has overseen the company’s efforts to move beyond the Ye era, and to sell its remaining Yeezy inventory, which could be worth as much as $1.3 billion.
Adidas is sharing some of the proceeds from the Yeezy sales with charities that work to fight discrimination and hate speech, including the Anti-Defamation League, Robert Kraft’s Foundation to Combat Antisemitism, and the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change.