The chief executive of sportswear giant Adidas has come to the defence of disgraced racist rapper Kanye West over his antisemitic rants saying, “I don’t think he meant what he said.”
Bjørn Gulden said of the rapper, who has changed his name to Ye: ‘I don’t think he’s a bad person – it just came across that way.”
The CEO’s comments were made on the Norwegian podcast In Good Company as he discussed the end of Adidas deal with the rapper last October.
He was not in his Adidas role at the time Kayne West launched his attacks on Jewish people.
“I think Kanye West is one of the most creative people in the world,” Gulden said.
“Both in music and what I call street culture. So he’s extremely creative and has together with Adi created a Yeezy line that was very successful.
“And then, as creative people, he did some statements, which wasn’t that good. And that caused Adi to break the contract and withdraw the product. 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 across that way.
“That meant we lost that business. One of the most successful collabs in history – very sad. But again, when you work with third parties, that could happen. It’s part of the game. That can happen with an athlete, it can happen with an entertainer. It’s part of the business.”
New Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden about Ye :
"Kanye West is one of the most creative people in the world. I don't think he's a bad person, it just came across that way." pic.twitter.com/8k1JvHkyJl
— Donda Times (@dondatimes) September 19, 2023
The rapper had sparked outrage with a whole series of inflammatory remarks about Jewish people.He tweeted he was “going death con 3 onJEWISH PEOPLE ” added: You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda”.
On Instagram, he posted a screenshot of a conversation with the rapper Diddy, where he wrote: “Ima use you as an example to show the Jewish people that told you to call me that no one can threaten or influence me.”
In December, Ye caused further outrage after posting an image of a swastika blended with the Star of David to X and praising Adolf Hitler and Nazis in an interview with Infowars host Alex Jones.
“I see good things about Hitler,” said Ye. “Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler … [Nazis] did good things too.”
He added: “There’s a lot of things that I love about Hitler.”
West moved his line of signature Yeezy trainers to Adidas in 2013, having previously partnered with Nike for the lucrative footwear brand.
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