Gap is removing all Yeezy Gap products from its stores and the retailer’s e-commerce site amid growing backlash on anti-Semitic comments by Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West.
In September, West broke its shoe and apparel contract with the retailer, with his attorney telling CBS MoneyWatch at the time that Gap had breached certain contractual obligations. In a statement on Tuesday, Gap cited Ye’s “recent remarks and behavior” as the reason for removing Yeezy Gap items from stores and shutting down YeezyGap.com.
“Anti-Semitism, racism and hatred in any form are inexcusable and not tolerated in accordance with our values,” the clothing chain said. “On behalf of our customers, employees and shareholders, we partner with organizations that fight hate and discrimination.”
In 2020, Gap and the hip-hop star ink what was supposed to be a 10-year deal under which he designed Yeezy-branded merchandise to sell at Gap stores. West received royalties and Gap stock based on sales of Yeezy items.
Gap’s decision to distance himself from Ye highlights the commercial fallout for the artist after several anti-Semitic comments. Facing public pressure to sever ties with West, German sportswear giant Adidas said on Tuesday it had terminated its partnership with him on his remarks.
“Adidas does not tolerate anti-Semitism and any other type of hate speech,” the company said in a statement. “Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”
Earlier this month, Ye tweeted a threat that he would go “dead [sic] con 3” about the Jewish people, alluding to a defense readiness designation used by the U.S. military. He also posted a screenshot of a text exchange with Sean “Diddy” Combs in which he suggested that Combs was controlled by Jews.
West recently suggested slavery was a choice and called the COVID-19 vaccine a “mark of the beast,” among other controversial comments. He was also criticized for wearing a White Lives Matter T-Shirt at his Yeezy collection show in Paris. The phrase has been embraced and promoted by white supremacist groups and sympathizers, according the Anti-Defamation League.
Wealth impact uncertain
In 2021, Bloomberg ranked West as the richest black American, pegging his net worth at $6 billion. At the time, between $3.2 billion and $4.7 billion of that net worth came from West’s partnerships with Gap and Adidas, according to investment bank UBS.
But the impact on Ye’s wealth is uncertain as other former business partners step down. Ye’s talent agency, CAA, too let him down this week, and studio MRC announced on Monday that it was shelving a documentary about him.
“This morning, after discussion with our filmmakers and distribution partners, we have made the decision not to proceed with any distribution for our recently completed documentary about Kanye West. We cannot support any content that amplifies his platform,” MRC said in a statement.