Sportswear company Adidas has said that it will attempt to sell the remaining merchandise it designed with musician Kanye West, officially known as Ye, following the end of the pair's partnership after he posted antisemitic comments online.
The move was announced yesterday by Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden during the brand's annual general company meeting in Germany.
Adidas cut ties with Ye last October after the musician shared antisemitic messages on Twitter and Instagram, which garnered widespread outrage and led to his accounts being locked by both social media platforms.
Adidas reportedly has around 1.2 billion euros (£1 billion) worth of unsold Yeezy shoes in storage after the brand ceased the collaboration with Ye.
"For the last four months, we have been trying to find solutions for what to do with it," said Gulden, who also admitted last week that the termination of the Yeezy partnership had cut Adidas sales by 400 million euros (£350 million) in the first quarter of this year.
Gulden continued by announcing that the brand has decided to sell some of the remaining footwear and other products that are in storage and donate a portion of the proceeds, currently undetermined, to charities that support those directly harmed by Ye's remarks.
However, it has been reported that Ye will be entitled to some of the profits under the terms of the Yeezy partnership.
"Burning the products is not the solution," said Gulden. "Talking to all the NGOs and a lot of the organisations that have been hurt by Kanye, they all say: no, that's not the solution."
"What we are trying to do now over time is to sell parts of this inventory and donate money to the organisations helping us and that were also hurt by Kanye's statements," added the CEO. "When and how we will do this is not clear yet, but we are working on it."
Last week, Adidas also warned that by scrapping the unsold stock entirely, the brand's operating profit for 2023 could be affected by 500 million euros (£435 million).
Shares in Adidas were said to have gone up by two per cent following the general company meeting.
According to reports, Gulden defended Adidas' initial decision to collaborate with Ye by saying, "as difficult as he was, he is perhaps the most creative mind in our industry".
At the start of this month, Adidas shareholders filed a lawsuit against the brand, claiming that Adidas knew about Ye's antisemitism and "extreme behaviour" years before the termination of the Yeezy partnership – something that the company has denied.
"Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech," the brand said in a statement last October, explaining its decision to drop Ye.
Adidas' decision to cut ties with the musician followed fashion brand Balenciaga's terminated partnership with Ye. Balenciaga previously launched a collaboration with Ye and retailer Gap in a Miami car park.
The main photography is by Unsplash.