Kanye West Blasts Adidas, Cites Human Rights in Leaked Document Share

Controversy erupts as Ye confronts Adidas publicly.

by Nouman Rasool
Kanye West Blasts Adidas, Cites Human Rights in Leaked Document Share
© Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images

In a recent and fervent post on Instagram, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, now legally Ye, escalated his ongoing dispute with global sportswear titan Adidas. On the evening of February 29, Ye unveiled what he asserts is a confidential corporate directive purportedly instructing Adidas staff on how to engage with inquiries about the relaunch of the Yeezy footwear line.

Dated February 26, the document in question delineates Adidas's exclusive ownership over the Yeezy product line, emphasizing its rights to the designs of existing models and colorways from 2022. It outlines the company's adherence to contractual obligations and prior discussions with Ye about the product releases.

The memo further advises Adidas employees to steer clear of prolonged dialogues about the Yeezy collection with customers, directing them instead to a general contact email for further queries.

Ye's Grievances Exposed

Ye's Instagram post accompanying the photo voiced his frustration, linking Adidas's handling of the Yeezy queries to broader issues of personal disregard and societal ostracization, particularly concerning his political stances and mental health.

He passionately argued that such situations infringe upon fundamental human rights, exacerbated by the stigma attached to mental health issues. Billboard's attempts to confirm the authenticity of the document with Adidas representatives have yet to yield a response.

Inquiries to Ye and Kim Kardashian, Ye's spouse from 2014 to 2022, have also been made. This controversy surfaces in the wake of Adidas's announcement to liquidate some of its Yeezy inventory, a decision made after the brand severed ties with Ye in 2022 following his controversial remarks, deemed hate speech and antisemitic.

Adidas has committed to donating a portion of the proceeds from these sales to organizations fighting discrimination, including efforts against racism and antisemitism. Ye's criticism didn't stop at the alleged internal memo; he also lambasted the brand for marketing "fake Yeezys" and urged his followers to boycott Adidas.

He claimed the new Yeezy colorways were unauthorized by him and that he was not profiting from their sales. Additionally, Ye alluded to a $250 million lawsuit from Adidas, though evidence of such a suit remains unverified. Adidas had previously initiated a private arbitration against Ye's Yeezy LLC in December 2022, citing breaches of their partnership agreement through Ye's "racist, antisemitic, and other offensive public statements and conduct," which purportedly damaged the Adidas brand.

While the specifics of the arbitration, including the alleged $250 million, remain confidential, it underscores the deepening rift between the two parties.

Kanye West