Adidas reviewing Yeezy partnership with Kanye West after ‘White Lives Matter’ furore

 (Candace Owens/Twitter)
(Candace Owens/Twitter)

Adidas is reviewing its Yeezy partnership with Kanye West days after he showed a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt design at Paris Fashion Week.

The rapper was criticised after the slogan appeared on garments on the catwalk, with actor Will Smith’s son Jaden walking out of the show and supermodel Gigi Hadid branding him a “bully and a joke”.

The sportswear giant has now released a statement saying they are reviewing their business dealings with the outspoken musician.

The partnership had already been under strain in recent months with the rapper repeatedly criticising the company and its CEO.

Kanye has worked with Adidas for years (Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for ADIDAS)
Kanye has worked with Adidas for years (Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for ADIDAS)

The company’s statement did not mention the “White Lives Matter” controversy directly but said “successful partnerships are rooted in mutual respect and shared values”.

“After repeated efforts to privately resolve the situation, we have taken the decision to place the partnership under review. We will continue to co-manage the current product during this period,” it said. The company’s statement prompted the rapper to respond with on Instagram, accusing it of “stealing” his designs and claiming: “I AM ADIDAS.”

That post now appears to have been deleted.

The “White Lives Matter” phrase — an appropriation of the Black Lives Matter slogan — has been adopted by white supremacist organisations in recent years, and is categorised by the Anti-Defamation League as a hate slogan.

Black Lives Matter, which represents opposition to racism and police brutality, was widely used after George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis in the summer of 2020.

West and Adidas debuted their first collection in 2015. The Yeezy deal, reportedly due to run until 2026, has been hugely popular with new releases selling out within minutes.