The head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has said that Adidas CEO Bjorn Gulden apologized for his remarks about Kanye West and reiterated the sportswear company’s fight to end antisemitism, The Associated Press reported.
ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt’s comments on X followed Gulden’s remarks on a podcast in which he doubted that Kanye West “meant what he said” when he made a series of antisemitic and other offensive remarks last year.
“I think Kanye West is one of the most creative people in the world,” Gulden said in an episode released Sept. 12. “Very unfortunate, because I don’t think he meant what he said and I don’t think he’s a bad person. It just came off that way.”
West, who now calls himself Ye, caused outrage after saying during an interview that the Abraham Accords between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain were signed because former White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, who is also Trump’s son-in-law, wanted to "make money" from the deal.
He later threatened to go "death con 3 on the Jews" in an apparent antisemitic Twitter rant. West followed this up by claiming that he can't be antisemitic "because black people are actually Jew."
Adidas subsequently ended a major partnership with West over his statements, discontinued his line of Yeezy shoes and moved up the planned departure of its CEO. In a statement at that time, the company said it “does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech.”
Gulden took over as CEO last January.
In a statement to AP on Thursday, Adidas confirmed that the company had been in touch with ADL. It didn’t offer any details on the conversation between Greenblatt and Gulden but it linked back to Greenblatt’s comment on X.
“Our decision to end our partnership with Ye because of his unacceptable comments and behavior was absolutely the right one,” Adidas said. “Our stance has not changed: Hate of any kind has no place in sports or society, and we remain committed to fighting it.”
American Jewish Committee CEO Ted Deutch issued a statement on the matter, calling on Gulden to “set the record” straight and demonstrate that the company is taking antisemitism seriously.
“Antisemitism can never be rationalized, " he said.
The break with West left Adidas with a huge supply of unsold Yeezy sneakers that it has begun to sell in limited batches. It has held two such sales — one in May, the other last month. For both of those sales, Adidas said it donated a portion of the proceeds to charities such as the Anti-Defamation League and the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change.
West has since seemingly backtracked his comments, citing actor Jonah Hill’s acting in the 2012 movie “21 Jump Street”.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)