The World vs. Ye


Drew Pellin, Contributor

Ye, known for his controversial personality, has faced a public reckoning all of October. At the beginning of the month, the artist unloaded a storm of controversy at his Paris Fashion Week YEEZY show. Ye debuted a shirt with the phrase “White Lives Matter”, posing for a picture with political figure, Candace Owens. Since the post, he has been receiving backlash from fans and celebrities and has gone on multiple rants on social media, podcasts, and interviews.

On his recent Drink Champs appearance, Ye spoke about the criticism concerning his fashion show choice of modeling the “White Lives Matter” tee. His response was about the death of George Floyd and how he believed Floyd died from fentanyl, not from Derek Chauvin’s knee.

In response to his unstable behavior, Ye had almost all his business partnerships cut ties, including Adidas, Balenciaga, Vouge, Chase Bank, and his talent agency, CAA. The fire was ignited when Ye appeared on podcaster, Lex Friedman’s show, and defended his words and actions, stating “this is the happiest day of my life” regarding his accounts and his Drink Champs interview being removed and censored.

The biggest news comes from Adidas terminating their partnership with Ye. It began back on October 6th, when Ye started to speak up against Adidas, claiming they had been stealing his ideas and not giving him proper control over his products and vision. Ye bashed CEO, Kasper Rorsted on Instagram with a picture of a dead Rorstead on a New York Times cover, which led to the partnership being under review.

On Ye’s public rant, he used antisemitic rhetoric in his Instagram and Twitter posts. One tweet caused his accounts to be suspended, which read “when I wake up, I’m going death con 3 on Jewish people,” later stating “You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.” On the Drink Champs episode, Ye also stated “I can say antisemitic shit and Adidas cannot drop me.”

Due to Ye’s recent display of ranting, there was enormous pressure for Adidas to cut ties with their partner. On October 25th, the 10-year sportswear giant and rapper’s YEEZY partnership came to an end. The company shared in a press statement “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.”

However, Ye was a massive part of Adidas, with 8% of their annual revenue coming from sales of YEEZY products, resulting in billions of dollars for the brand. Adidas announced that the severed ties will have a financial impact on the company that could result in a $250 million loss. After the fallout with Adidas, Forbes published an article about the drop of Ye from billionaire status. The article estimated that his net worth tanked from $2 billion to $400 million. Imagine losing $1.6 billion in a flash.

Ye’s future ambitions in the fashion industry are uncertain now that his ties with Balenciaga and Vouge have ended as well. Both brands released statements condemning his behavior and terminated any future relations. Global Fashion Editor for Vouge, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, became a target of Ye’s insults on social media after she criticized him about his Paris Fashion Week showing. Ye has a large barrier to hurdle as these brands have high regard in the industry.

Ye has always had the odds stacked against him and people begging for his downfall. Yet, he rose above everything and became one of the biggest icons in America, dominating the entertainment and fashion industries, even stepping foot in the political world. Can Ye overcome the wild month of October to rebuild his status, power, and wealth again?