Bjorn Gulden, the CEO of German sportswear giant Adidas, has issued an apology for comments he made in a recent podcast. Gulden suggested that American rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, may not have meant the antisemitic comments that led to him being dropped from his partnership with the brand last year.
The apology came after Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, spoke with Gulden and confirmed that the Adidas boss had apologized for his misstatement. Greenblatt also stated that Gulden had assured him of Adidas’s commitment to fighting antisemitism and their opposition to the hate expressed by Ye.
During the podcast appearance, Gulden praised Ye as one of the most creative people in the world. He also expressed his belief that the situation which led to Ye’s dismissal from Adidas was unfortunate, stating, “I don’t think he meant what he said, and I don’t think he’s a bad person.”
In response to Gulden’s comments, the Anti-Defamation League issued a statement confirming their conversation with Gulden and emphasizing that Adidas continues to stand against hate in any form.
Last year, Adidas ended its high-profile collaboration with Ye after he made a series of antisemitic remarks in interviews and on social media. These remarks included stating his intention to harm Jewish people. Ye later claimed to have changed his opinion about Jewish people after watching a movie starring Jonah Hill, a prominent Jewish actor.
Adidas, in a statement to the Associated Press, confirmed that Gulden had been in contact with the Anti-Defamation League. The brand maintained that their decision to sever ties with Ye was the right one and stated that hate of any kind has no place in sports or society.
The decision to end their partnership with Ye has had significant financial implications for Adidas. It is expected that the brand will lose about $1.3 billion in sales this year as a result. Additionally, their operating profit will be reduced by $534 million in 2023. Gulden expressed hope that 2023 will be a transition year for Adidas as they aim to set the base for future growth and profitability.
In conclusion, Bjorn Gulden, the CEO of Adidas, has issued an apology for his comments suggesting that Ye did not mean his antisemitic remarks. The Anti-Defamation League has confirmed the conversation and reiterated Adidas’s commitment to fighting antisemitism. The brand continues to stand against hate, and their decision to sever ties with Ye has had significant financial implications. They hope to transition to a period of growth and profitability in the coming year.