More Companies Drop Ye Due to Corporate Backlash After Controversial Comments

More Companies Drop Ye Due to Corporate Backlash After Controversial Comments
Rapper Kanye West attends the WSJ Magazine 2019 Innovator Awards at MOMA in New York City on Nov. 6, 2019. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)
Bryan Jung

Peloton and TJ Maxx have cut their ties with rapper and designer Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, following his recent controversial remarks.

The two companies are the latest high-profile brands, such as Adidas, Balenciaga, Gap, and Vogue, to cut their longstanding ties with Ye after the row over his words in recent weeks.

Adidas, Gap, and Balenciaga have all terminated their profitable relationship with the Yeezy fashion brand, owned by the rapper turned designer.

Ye was also banned from both Twitter and Instagram after making the comments on their platforms.

The artist has made repeated controversial statements, including a declaration that he would go "death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE" in a tweet. It is possible that Ye likely meant “defcon,” or defense readiness condition, a particular state of alert used by the military.

Financial giant JPMorgan Chase and Ye's own talent agency, CAA, also cut ties with the performer.

“I can confirm that Kanye is not a client,” a CAA representative told CNBC.
MRC Entertainment pulled a finished documentary about the rapper after the public backlash led to a boycott by Jewish and other civic organizations, along with some prominent personalities.

Pressure Builds to Cancel Ye

Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel has been at the forefront of public calls for a total corporate boycott of Ye and his businesses, Breitbart News reported.

Emanuel is the brother of Rahm Emanuel, the former Democrat mayor of Chicago, U.S. congressman, and President Barack Obama's White House chief of staff.

The Hollywood talent mogul said that Ye might be forgiven if he apologizes and repents like the actor Mel Gibson, after he made an antisemitic rant in 2006.

Ye's words "allows forms of hatred and racism, including anti-Semitism, to spread and become normalized. It coarsens and degrades our society and country,” said the entertainment executive in an op-ed in the Financial Times on Oct. 27.

Emanuel also called for music platforms to stop streaming Ye's music, putting further pressure on them, as more companies drop his labels.

However, Spotify announced that it would not remove his music, after earlier condemning the statements, which are widely considered to be antisemitic.

His label also remains on Apple Music and YouTube Music.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek told Reuters that Ye's comments were "just awful," but did not actually violate the company’s anti-hate policies, as none of his remarks were made on Spotify's platform.

Ek said that the Universal Music’s label, Def Jam, would have to make a request to have his music pulled.

"It's really just his music [on Spotify], and his music doesn't violate our policy," Ek told Reuters. "It's up to his label, if they want to take action or not."

Def Jam, which controls the copyright to Ye's recordings from 2002 to 2016, has not yet done so, reported Reuters, but it has condemned his statements, saying, "There is no place for antisemitism in our society."

Ye Disappears From Music and From Shelves

Meanwhile, TJ Maxx told FOX Business in an emailed statement that it does not tolerate "discrimination, harassment, or hate of any kind."

"We have instructed our buying teams not to purchase this merchandise for sale in any of our stores globally," the retailer said.

Peloton pulled Ye's songs from its gym's playlists, saying that his music is “indefinitely paused” from its fitness platform, saying that they “take this issue very seriously.”

“This means our instructors are no longer using his music in any newly produced classes and we are not suggesting any class that includes his music in our proactive recommendations to members,” Peloton announced in a press statement.

“You should know this was a decision we made immediately following his remarks.”

This comes after one of the fitness company's top instructors, Alex Toussaint, declared that he would no longer allow Ye's songs to be played during his classes.
Toussaint said on his YouTube channel that he wants “to make sure everybody feels safe in my environment and my classes."

“I’m not even going to speak too much on it because you know I stand with you, you will not hear that artist in my class at all, I promise y’all,” he said in a video shared by the outlet. “I do not support hate speech whatsoever. I don’t tolerate that s–t at all, all right? You will not hear that artist in my class, I promise you.”

The same day that Adidas canceled its contract with Ye, the artist paid an unplanned visit to Skechers corporate offices in Los Angeles on Oct. 26, according to the New York Post.
Skechers issued a press release after the unexpected visit, explaining that Ye “arrived unannounced and without invitation" and was promptly shown the door.

Despite losing almost most of his reported $2 billion from the cancellation of his Yeezy line and music label contracts, Ye maintains that he will never be canceled.

“I ain’t losing no money,” said Ye, “The day I was taken off the Balenciaga site, that was one of the most freeing days. We here, baby, we ain’t going nowhere.” he told TMZ in an interview last week.
The fashion and music mogul told Bloomberg last week that he was in the process of buying the social media platform Parler.

“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial, we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves,” Ye stated.

Bryan S. Jung is a native and resident of New York City with a background in politics and the legal industry. He graduated from Binghamton University.