Which brands have cut ties with Kanye West and what controversies is he embroiled in?

Credit: AP

Kanye West is experiencing a huge backlash after making a series of antisemitic remarks in recent weeks which have prompted a string of companies to cut ties him.

The 45-year-old artist has made antisemitic comments in interviews and social media, including a Twitter post earlier this month. His posts led to his suspension from both Twitter and Instagram.

The rapper, who has legally changed his name to Ye, has since apologised, suggesting the initial tweet was a mistake.

He has long been an outspoken figure, but has become increasingly isolated as of late with multiple brands having distanced themselves from him.

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Which companies have cut ties with Ye?

Skechers said that it has “no intention” of working with the musician and condemned his “recent divisive remarks”.

The shoe brand issued a statement after Ye had to be escorted from its corporate office in Los Angeles having arrived “unannounced and uninvited”.

“Skechers is not considering and has no intention of working with West. We condemn his recent divisive remarks and do not tolerate antisemitism or any other form of hate speech," the statement read.

On Tuesday, Adidas said it was ending production of the Yeezy-branded products, a fashion collaboration with Ye, with “immediate effect”. In a statement, the company said: “Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech. Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness. “After a thorough review, the company has taken the decision to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy-branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies. Adidas will stop the adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect.”

A sign advertises Yeezy shoes made by Adidas at Kickclusive, a resale store in Paramus, New Jersey. Credit: AP

The Balenciaga fashion house also cut ties with Ye last week, according to reports, while Madame Tussauds in London said that it had moved its wax figure of Ye from public view and into the museum’s archive.

A completed documentary about Ye has also been shelved and he was dropped by talent agency CAA over his remarks.

Other companies also have announced they were cutting ties with Ye, including Foot Locker, Gap, TJ Maxx, JPMorgan Chase bank and Vogue magazine.

American football player Aaron Donald and basketball star Jaylen Brown have reportedly terminated their contracts with Ye's sports marketing agency, Donda Sports, after his antisemitic comments.

Lizzo and John Legend were among the celebrities to call out Ye, with Legend tweeting on October 10: “Weird how all these ‘free, independent thinkers’ always land at the same old anti blackness and antisemitism.”

Ye's ex-wife Kim Kardashian and members of her family have called for an end to the “terrible violence and hateful rhetoric” towards the Jewish community.How has the corporate backlash affected Ye's estimated wealth and airplay time?

The severing of these ties caused West to lose his spot on the Forbes billionaires’ list as the contract with the German sportswear company accounted for around $1.5 billion (£1.3 billion), according to the US business magazine.

Earlier this year, the artist was ranked number 1,513 on Forbes’ rich list, valued at $2 billion (£1.5 billion) due to his lucrative fashion brands and a multi-year deal to design his trainer brand Yeezy for Adidas.

Forbes now estimates that West’s value is $400 million (£349 million) – stemming from “real estate, cash, his music catalogue, and a 5% stake in ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s shapewear firm, Skims”.

The magazine added that West’s removal from its list capped off a “years-long saga,” with the rapper claiming his net worth was “undervalued”, having once said that “no one at Forbes knows how to count”.

Ye performs with Kid Cudi at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club. Credit: AP

Ye has been steadily losing audience on the radio and even his streaming numbers have declined slightly over the last month.

According to data provided by Luminate, an entertainment data and insights company, his airplay audience has slipped from 8 million in the week ending September 22, to 5.4 million in the week ending on October 20.

The popularity of his songs on streaming on demand also went down in the same period, from 97 million to 88.2 million, about a 9% drop.

What other controversies has Ye been embroiled in?Ye is due to face a $250 million (£221 million) lawsuit brought by the family of George Floyd, following recent remarks the rapper made about his death. Lawyers representing the family issued a cease and desist letter to Ye and said his comments were a “repugnant attempt to discount George Floyd’s life and to profit from his inhumane death”. It comes after the rapper made an appearance on the US podcast Drink Champs, where he claimed Mr Floyd was killed by a fentanyl overdose, in contrast to a medical examiner’s evidence. Mr Floyd, a black man, died in 2020 after police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nine minutes in Minneapolis, Minnesota – footage of which was shared around the world online. His cause of death was ruled as a homicide and it sparked global protests. Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter and given a 22-and-a-half jail sentence in 2021.

A statement shared with the PA news agency read: “During the podcast interview, Kanye West stated malicious falsehoods about George Floyd to profit from Mr Floyd’s horrendous death and his family’s trauma.” Lawyer Pat D Dixon III added: “Kanye’s comments are a repugnant attempt to discount George Floyd’s life and to profit from his inhumane death. We will hold Mr West accountable for his flagrant remarks against Mr Floyd’s legacy.”

Ye courted controversy on social media after being photographed wearing a "White Lives Matter" t-shirt for his Yeezy collection at Paris Fashion Week in October. The rapper, held a last minute, exclusive show with 100 guests, of which, according to organisers, "a big part (was made up) of Ye’s friends”. His models in the show were seen wearing the t-shirts along the runway. Conservative commentator Candace Owens, who attended the show, posted a photo on Twitter standing next to the rapper with the words "White Lives Matter" written on the back of their t-shirts.

He was also criticised in some circles for sporting the infamous red “Make America Great Again” hat and publicly supporting former Republican president Donald Trump.

He has suggested that slavery was a choice and called the Covid vaccine the “mark of the beast,” among other comments.

Kanye West is seated while meeting with President Donald Trump and others in the Oval Office of the White House in 2018. Credit: AP

Ye has begun the process of buying the alternative messaging platform Parler after his Twitter and Instagram accounts were locked.

A statement from parent company Parlement Technologies said it has entered into an agreement in principle for the rapper to acquire the site.

It said the acquisition “ensures Parler a future role in creating an uncancellable ecosystem where all voices are welcome”.

Parler has styled itself as an unbiased platform and has become popular with those banned from Twitter, also hosting prominent American conservative voices.

Kanye West and his mother, Donda, hold his three awards backstage at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles in 2006. Credit: AP

Ye previously revealed he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which is described as a mental health condition that affects your moods, which can swing from one extreme to another.

His mother, Donda West, died in 2007 aged 58, following complications from cosmetic surgery and her death is said to have had a devastating impact on the rapper.

Ye made his first foray into the music industry in the early 2000s, having been a producer for Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records.

He went on to produce some of the biggest hits of the last 20 years, winning 24 Grammy awards, but has repeatedly courted controversy during his time in the public eye.