Adidas is planning to sell Kanye West‘s unsold Yeezy stock and donate some of the proceeds to charity.
Earlier this month, Adidas’ CEO, Bjørn 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.
The sportswear brand cut ties with Ye following a series of remarks from the rapper last year that were viewed as anti-Semitic.
“What we are trying to do now over time is to sell some of this merchandise… burning the goods would not be a solution,” Gulden said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting (via BBC).
He added that the company decided against donating Yeezy shoes to prevent them from reaching the market through indirect avenues. Instead, proceeds are set to be donated to organisations that the rapper has harmed with his recent string of controversial comments. West will also reportedly be entitled to some of the money under the terms of the partnership, according to the BBC.
Adidas reportedly has about €1.2billon (£1.05billion) worth of unsold Yeezy shoes in storage. By selling off some of the dormant stock, the company may reduce a $700m (£559m) loss this year. Gulden did however say that “as difficult as West was, he is perhaps the most creative mind in our industry”.
At the time of West’s anti-Semitic comments the company said: “Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech.”
The BBC also reports that Adidas is being sued by investors who claim that the brand knew about West’s problematic behaviour years before it ended their partnership.
In response, Adidas said it rejected “these unfounded claims”, adding that it would take “all necessary measures to vigorously defend ourselves against them”.
Elsewhere, earlier this month it was reported that West had opened a new Yeezy office in Los Angeles next door to a building owned by Adidas.