Balenciaga has ended its relationship with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, following the entertainer’s continued controversial behavior, which includes a growing list of antisemitic statements. Following the release of parent company Kering’s Q3 2022 earnings on Oct. 20, 2022, the company noted that, “Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist,” in response to a question from WWD regarding the partnership.
Ye has had a longstanding relationship with Balenciaga’s Artistic Director Demna, who was appointed to the company’s lead creative role in October 2015. The pair had collaborated on a number of projects together, including creative for Ye’s Yeezy brand and his former partnership with Gap, Yeezy Gap Engineered by Balenciaga. The partnership between Gap and Ye ended in September 2022.
The Balenciaga connection included a recent appearance by Ye in the luxury house’s recent Spring/Summer 2023 show. During a Paris Fashion Week Yeezy fashion show, Ye caused a stir when he appeared alongside conservative personality Candace Owens, with the pair wearing T-shirts that featured the phrase “White Lives Matter,” which has been identified by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as a racist response to the Black Lives Matter movement by white supremacists.
Recently Ye has been building a network of more conservative personalities; on Oct. 17, he agreed to buy conservative social media app Parler. Owens’ husband George Farmer serves as CEO of Parler parent company Parlement Technologies.
Ye’s partnership with Adidas also has come under scrutiny following the company’s decision on Oct. 6, 2022 to place its relationship “under review,” although no additional action has been taken by the athletic lifestyle brand. Adidas decided to reconsider its partnership after Ye publicly criticized CEO Kasper Rørsted.
Ye responded in an Instagram post that has since been deleted, stating, “F——– ADIDAS I AM ADIDAS.”
In an Oct. 20 letter addressed to Rørsted and Adidas’ Chairman of the company’s supervisory board Thomas Rabe, ADL CEO and National Director Jonathan A. Greenblatt requested the brand end its relationship with Ye.
“We are surprised and concerned that Adidas — a brand that supports inclusion and diversity — continues not only to support the Ye product line, but to release new products even as he continues to espouse hateful antisemitic ideas to his 31 million Twitter followers, and as those noxious ideas spread across social media and around the world thanks to his outsized media presence and celebrity status,” the letter read. “In light of all of this, we urge Adidas to reconsider supporting the Ye product line and to issue a statement making clear that the Adidas company and community has no tolerance whatsoever for antisemitism.”
An Oct. 14 ADL blog post titled Unpacking Kanye West’s Antisemitic Remarks outlined and discussed Ye’s history of statements against Jewish people and support for groups that express antisemitic sentiment.