Adidas’ refusal to take a cue and cut ties with Kanye West after his controversial slavery comments could backfire and hurt the athletic footwear brand as a petition is calling for the athletic wear company to drop the rapper’s footwear line.
Company CEO Kasper Rorsted says there hasn’t been discussion about dropping the rapper’s Yeezy’s designer line, reports Bloomberg.
“There clearly are some comments we don’t support,” Rorsted said.
While Rorsted won’t commit to saying what the company plans to do, he told Bloomberg that they will discuss the matter with West.
While Adidas hasn’t decided to drop West, they are still in limbo with Colin Kaepernick — whose positions and gestures on racial injustice has cost him at least an entire football season — and said they would only give him an endorsement deal if an NFL team signs him.
But now that West has gone off-script, it could hurt the brand’s reputation. The CEO has said in the past that West in important to the company’s strategies as a brand ambassador.
West designs top-of-the-line Yeezy models for Adidas. Rorsted said the athletic footwear only provides a “limited financial contribution” – code words for a little bit of cashflow to the company.
But Rorsted says it is important for “brand heat” — meaning that West’s footwear has made Adidas relevant again in the streets.
However, West’s comments have sparked a petition on Care2 calling for Adidas to distance itself from the rapper.
So far 9,200 people have signed the petition so far, with a goal of 10,000. The petition reads:
“While Kanye can live safely in his multi-million dollar castle, the rest of black America is continually marginalized and subject to unjust laws and treatment. Some even die because this behavior is so ingrained in our society,” the petition reads. “Kanye West has a right to free speech, and he has the right to spout lies and misinformation and misplaced opinions — but we as consumers have the right to fight back against this type of dangerous propaganda.”
It continues: “Tell the world [Adidas does] not want anything to do with anyone who believes that millions of Africans chose to toil the fields in bondage.”