Although thousands of people have signed a petition to have shoemaker Adidas drop rapper Kanye West over his slavery comments, the German firm says it hasn’t had any internal conversations about ending the partnership.
West defected from Nike (NKE) to Adidas (ADDYY) a few years back, and designs the Yeezy range for the German brand.
In recent weeks, the prolific tweeter has shocked many of his fans—first by suggesting that he loves President Donald Trump as “we are both dragon energy” (he’s actually endorsed Trump before,) and then by telling TMZ that four centuries of slavery in the U.S. “sounds like a choice.”
“While Kanye can live safely in his multi-million dollar castle, the rest of black America is continually marginalized and subject to unjust laws and treatment. Some even die because this behavior is so ingrained in our society,” the petition reads. “The German apparel company may wish to rethink their lucrative deal with West after his jaw-dropping outburst.”
So, what does Adidas make of this? In an interview with Bloomberg, CEO Kasper Rorsted seemed desperate to dodge the question.
“We neither comment nor speculate on every single comment that our external creators are making,” he said. “Kanye has been and is a very important part of our strategy and he’s been a fantastic creator, and that’s where I’m going to leave it.”
But the interviewer pursued his line of questioning. How much is the Yeezy brand worth to Adidas? “While Kanye’s a very important part of the Adidas brand, Adidas is a large global company with a very, very strong presence around the world and will continue to perform well.”
But isn’t it important for Adidas to take some kind of stance on West’s slavery comments? “Of course it is,” said Rorsted, before admitting the company has “not had any conversation with Kanye in the last 24 hours” and had in fact not even discussed the issue internally.
“We are a sports company and want to change people’s lives through sports,” Rorsted deadpanned.
Coincidentally, West just conducted an interview with radio presenter Charlamagne tha God, in which he said he had a direct line to Rorsted, whereas Nike CEO Mark Parker “wouldn’t even get on the phone with me.”