Adidas CEO says Kanye West is “not a bad person”

The CEO of Adidas, Bjorn Gulden, has opened up about Kanye West, saying the rapper and producer is “not a bad person”.

The sportswear brand cut ties with West following a series of remarks from the rapper last year that were viewed as anti-Semitic, having worked together for years on the Yeezy brand.

Speaking on the In Good Company podcast, Gulden reflected on the partnership with West saying: “When you work with third parties that can happen. It’s part of the game. That can happen with an athlete, with an entertainer. It’s part of the business.”

He went on: “I think Kanye West is one of the most creative people in the world, both in music and what I would call street culture. He’s extremely creative.”

Addressing the comments directly, he added: “I don’t think he meant what he said and I don’t think he’s a bad person, it just came across that way.”

You can see his full interview here:

Following West’s departure from Adidas, it was later revealed that the sportswear company would sell leftover Yeezys and donate a portion of the profits to charity.

Last month, they announced the huge sale of the first batch of products, with money from the sales going towards organisations and charities supporting those most affected by the rapper’s comments.

Among those receiving funds from the sale are The Anti-Defamation League and the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change, founded by George Floyd’s brother Philonise.

Speaking of the sale, Gulden said: “This is much better than destroying and writing off the inventory and allows us to make substantial donations.”

Earlier this year, Gulden admitted that the sportswear company’s severed partnership with West and his Yeezy brand was “hurting” the business.

Gulden shared that sales were particularly affected in North America, which had seen a 20 per cent loss. The Yeezy loss also cut sales by €400m (£350 million) in the first quarter of 2023.

Elsewhere, earlier this year it was reported that West had opened a new Yeezy office in Los Angeles next door to a building owned by Adidas.

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