Adidas CEO Bjorn Gulden has reaffirmed his support for Kanye West, standing by the controversial artist despite the shocking antisemitic remarks that led to Adidas severing their lucrative Yeezy partnership with the celebrity artist formerly known as Ye. Gulden’s unwavering stance on West’s controversial statements was made apparent in a recent interview on the In Good Company podcast.
In a surprising move in October 2022, Adidas decided to cut ties with Kanye West after he posted a tweet that called for “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.” The move sent shockwaves through the fashion and entertainment industries, causing many to question West’s future collaborations and partnerships.
However, Bjorn Gulden has remained steadfast in his support for West, expressing his belief that the artist did not truly mean the offensive remarks and emphasizing that he does not view West as a bad person. In the podcast interview, Gulden stated, “I don’t think he meant what he said, and I don’t think he’s a bad person.”
Gulden’s decision to stand by West is significant given the controversy that followed the artist’s remarks and the public outcry that ensued. It raises questions about Adidas’ ethical stance and its willingness to continue working with individuals whose actions and statements have caused offense and harm.
Acknowledging the inherent risks associated with collaborating with high-profile celebrities like Kanye West, Gulden remarked that dealing with such situations is “part of the game.” He added, “Working with celebrities always comes with a certain amount of risk, and it’s something we have to navigate.”
Despite the controversies surrounding West, Gulden had words of praise for the artist, describing him as “one of the most creative people in the world, both in music and what I will call street culture.” This acknowledgment highlights the complex dynamics of the partnership between Adidas and West, which has been both lucrative and fraught with challenges.
Bjorn Gulden’s role at Adidas has been pivotal in navigating the fallout from West’s controversial statements. He was appointed as CEO in 2022, with the primary task of helping to rebuild the Adidas brand’s reputation in the wake of the West controversy and to mitigate the losses incurred due to the scandal.
One of the steps taken by Adidas in the aftermath of the controversy was the sale of unsold Yeezy merchandise, with a portion of the proceeds donated to organizations dedicated to combating racism and antisemitism. These efforts appear to be paying off, as strong Yeezy sales have contributed to narrowing the projected full-year loss for the company.
Despite Gulden’s resolute stance, Adidas declined to respond to requests for comment regarding the podcast interview. This lack of communication leaves many unanswered questions about the future of Adidas’ collaboration with Kanye West and the company’s commitment to addressing concerns raised by his previous remarks.
In the aftermath of Adidas severing its partnership with Kanye West, Bjorn Gulden’s steadfast support for the artist stands as a defiant show of loyalty, despite the damage caused by West’s comments and the lingering uncertainty surrounding the collaboration. As the fashion and entertainment industries continue to grapple with issues of accountability and responsibility, Gulden’s position raises important ethical questions about the role of corporations in shaping public discourse and the boundaries of acceptable behavior in high-profile collaborations.