[Jason Persse, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons]

Kanye West, Adidas Divorce To Cost Shoe Company Over A Billion

It looks like another divorce featuring Kanye West is going to end up being costly. No not the messy divorce with Kim Kardashian, but the union the rapper formerly had with the clothing and shoe company Adidas. 

CNN Business reported, “The company warned Thursday that it’s expected to lose $1.3 billion (1.2 billion euro) in revenue this year because it’s unable to sell the designer’s Yeezy clothing and shoes. Adidas ended its nine-year partnership with the rapper last October because of his antisemitic remarks.

In a statement, Adidas said its financial guidance for 2023 “accounts for the significant adverse impact from not selling the existing stock.” If the company can’t “repurpose” any of the remaining Ye clothing, Adidas said that could cost the company $534 million (500 million euro) in operating profit this year.

The company said shortly after the partnership was dissolved that it would try to sell the clothing, stripped of the Yeezy name and branding. Adidas said selling the sneakers under its own branding would save the company about $300 million in royalty payments and marketing fees.

‘There really are no good options for this distressed brand that sat somewhere between prestige and luxury,’ said Burt Flickinger, retail expert and managing director at retail consultancy Strategic Resource Group.”

Over the past year, Kanye West has been finding trouble and causing headaches wherever he could. He brought an antisemite to dinner with former President Donald Trump, which sparked the Adidas furor, but he has also gone to battle with George Floyd’s family. He made claims that Floyd, whose death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer sparked violent protests all over the country, was not suffocated but rather died from a fentanyl overdose. 

NPR noted, “The family of George Floyd announced Tuesday that they will file a $250 million lawsuit against Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, following comments he made about Floyd’s death on the podcast Drink Champs.

Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that George Floyd’s death was a homicide, caused by Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes. But Ye — who was a guest on last weekend’s episode of the podcast hosted by rapper N.O.R.E and DJ EFN — put forth the idea that it wasn’t Chauvin who caused Floyd’s death, but that he died from fentanyl use.” 

Roxie Washington, the mother of Gianna Floyd, George Floyd’s only daughter and sole beneficiary of his estate, filed the lawsuit. NPR continued, “Washington plans to sue Ye, his business partners and associates for “harassment, misappropriation, defamation and infliction of emotional distress seeking $250 million dollars in damages,” according to a statement from Washington’s attorneys.

‘Kanye’s comments are a repugnant attempt to discount George Floyd’s life and to profit from his inhumane death,” said Attorney Pat D. Dixon III. “We will hold Mr. West accountable for his flagrant remarks against Mr. Floyd’s legacy.'”

West’s lawyers and outside commentators have noted that you cannot be guilty of defamation against a dead person. For example, Roy S. Gutterman, the director of the Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse University told NPR, “First off, there is no possibility of a defamation action here, because there would be no living plaintiff whose reputation has been damaged. Libel and slander require a live plaintiff, and family members or surviving family members do not have standing to sue for defamation.”

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