Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
We may earn a commission from links on this page

Kanye West told a Jewish Adidas manager to kiss a photo of Hitler "every day" amid decade of harassment

A bombshell new report from the New York Times also discusses how the rapper (now known as Ye) would throw shoes and make staffers watch porn during meetings

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Kanye West
Kanye West
Photo: Jonathan Leibson (Getty Images)

Last October, Adidas finally dropped their long-term partner Kanye West after the rapper made a slew of antisemitic comments (among other things). This was despite the fact that Yeezy, their sneaker partnership, was netting the company over $1 billion annually. For many staffers, it was too little, too late. While Adidas employees have come forward with allegations of exceedingly bad behavior from the rapper (now known as Ye) in the past, a lengthy new report from The New York Times delves deeper into the decade-long collaboration than any have before. What it found is stomach-churning.

Apparently, employees were confronted with West’s rampant antisemitism as soon as their very first pitch meeting with the rapper. After reviewing a number of unsatisfactory fabric swatches and shoe designs, West allegedly grabbed one of the sketches and drew a swastika on the toe to convey his dislike of the sneaker. It only got worse from there.


As Ye ramped up his antisemitism in public last fall, he also doubled down behind the scenes. Employees reported that West repeatedly commended Hitler for his use of propaganda, calling the genocidal dictator a “marketing master” and saying he planned to name his next album after him. (It was eventually titled Ye.) Most egregiously, West apparently told TMZ that “it was important to love everyone, including Nazis” in the same interview in which he infamously said that slavery “sounds like a choice.” Back in the office, West stood by that statement, telling Jon Wexler, a Jewish Adidas executive, to “hang a photo of Hitler in his kitchen and kiss it every day to practice unconditional love.”


Elsewhere in the report, the NYT discusses how West would level sexually explicit comments against female staffers, force employees to watch pornography in meetings “ostensibly to spark creativity,” and throw sneakers around the room when he got angry at meetings. He was also allegedly not sleeping, drinking at work, and consistently using marketing money for his own bizarre agenda.


Still, throughout all of this, the company’s C-suite consistently “sought not to rein him in but to appease him,” with an eye to their bottom line. After the slavery comment, for example, Kasper Rorsted, Adidas’ CEO at the time, brushed it off, saying “Kanye has helped us have a great comeback in the U.S.” He only doubled down months later, adding: “We’re not signing up to his statements; we’re signing up to what he brings to the brand and the products he’s bringing out.”

There’s a lot more content to mull over in the full NYT report, which follows Ye and Adidas through the entire trajectory and dissolution of their decade-long partnership. While long, it’s certainly worth a read, especially as Ye returns to the stage after a long absence and threatens to drop a new album any day now, “potentially without warning.”