"America is a hotbed of tension at the moment"
Earlier this week, the rapper made headlines in an interview where he argued that the historic slavery of black people in America was “a choice”. He later clarified his comments, but continued to receive criticism.
Now, thousands have signed a petition set up by Care2 – asking Adidas to boycott the rapper after his “dangerous” comments and to “rethink their lucrative deal with West after his jaw-dropping outburst”.
“America is a hotbed of tension at the moment,” reads the petition. “Much of that tension has to do with the rising rate of hate-motivated attacks under the Trump Administration, the nearly weekly stories of unarmed black and brown people dying at the hands of law enforcement and the unrelenting effects of centuries of slavery — slavery which Kanye believes our African ancestors chose.”
They added: “Kanye West has a right to free speech, and he has the right to spout lies and misinformation and misplaced opinions – but we as consumers have the right to fight back against this type of dangerous propaganda.
“That is why Care2 is asking Adidas to drop their partnership with Mr. West and tell the world they do not want anything to do with anyone who believes that millions of Africans chose to toil the fields in bondage for 400 years.”
Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted however, has since maintained that they’ll be sticking with West after the controversy.
“We’ll neither comment nor speculate on every single comment that our external creators are making,” Rorsted told Bloomberg. “Kanye has been and is a very important part of our strategy. He’s been a fantastic creator, and that’s where I’m going to leave it.
“I’m not going to comment on any comment that he or anyone else is making. That’s pretty much the party line at this stage.”
After the likes of Will.i.am hit out at West’s “hurtful” comments, he then took online to justify his remarks.
“We need to have open discussions and ideas on unsettled pain… to make myself clear,” he wrote. “Of course I know that slaves did not get shackled and put on a boat by free will”.
“My point is for us to have stayed in that position even though the numbers were on our side means that we were mentally enslaved,” he added, before comparing himself to Willie Lynch, a slave owner who is said to have delivered a speech about controlling black slaves by setting them against each other (it’s worth noting that many historians doubt the speech was ever made).”