What does Defcon 3 mean? Kanye ‘Ye’ West’s antisemitic comment explained - how did Adidas and Spotify respond

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Brands including Balenciaga and Adidas have cut ties with the musician after he made antisemitic comments

Kanye West has sparked outrage after making antisemtic comments on social media.

The rapper tweeted that he would go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE”, sparking condemnation from around the world, with the American Jewish Community calling it a “vicious antisemitic comment” and his ex-wife Kim Kardashian tweeting that “Hate speech is never OK or excusable.”

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Brands including Balenciaga and Adidas have cut ties with the musician, with stores including Gap and Foot Locker pullling his Yeezy brand and Madame Tussauds removing his waxwork from public view.

On Wednesday (26 October) West was escorted from the premises of Sketchers in in Los Angeles after he showed up unannounced and uninvited and conducted “unauthorised filming”. So what has Sketchers said? Here’s everything you need to know.

Kanye West attends the Balenciaga Womenswear Spring/Summer 2023 show at Paris Fashion Week in October 2022 (Pic: Getty Images For Balenciaga)Kanye West attends the Balenciaga Womenswear Spring/Summer 2023 show at Paris Fashion Week in October 2022 (Pic: Getty Images For Balenciaga)
Kanye West attends the Balenciaga Womenswear Spring/Summer 2023 show at Paris Fashion Week in October 2022 (Pic: Getty Images For Balenciaga) | Getty Images For Balenciaga

What does Defcon 3 mean?

Defcon is an abbreviation of the term Defence readiness condition which is used by the US Military. It is a ranking system used to measure safety alerts, with five levels in total, one is the most serious and signals serious nuclear war.

According to Veteran, Defcon 3 means “force readiness increased above normal levels” and would mean there is “increased regional tensions with possible U.S. force involvement.” Under this warning, the US military will have 15 minutes of warning prior to launching operations.

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What has the reaction been?

West’s tweet sparked outrage around the world, and was labelled a “vicious antisemitic comment” by the American Jewish Committee (AJC).

AJC CEO Ted Deutch said: “Although some have tried, there is no rationale, no explaining away Kanye West’s rants on social media for anything else than what they are: vicious antisemitic statements that pose a clear and present danger to every Jewish person.”

Celebrities have also called out the comments, including his ex-wife Kim Kardashion who tweeted: “Hate speech is never OK or excusable. I stand together with the Jewish community and call on the terrible violence and hateful rhetoric towards them to come to an immediate end.”

Executive Director of Stop Antisemitism, Liora Rez, told Newsweek that West’s comments were “horrifying” addding: “This gives him zero excuses to spew baseless and confusing messages about Jews, specifically when antisemitism has been set ablaze across America. Furthermore, his language about influence taps into an age-old antisemitic myth and stereotype about Jewish control.”

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“I don’t think he understands when his wording is problematic, but we hope he deletes the Instagram posts.” Adding: “Jews have enough issues as it is right now without him furthering any type of negativity towards us and hatred.”

There has been further condemnation of West’s comments after images from Los Angeles at the weekend showed a group of white supremacists holding banners over a freeway that said “Kanye is right about the Jews.”

What has Adidas said?

On Tuesday 25 October Adidas released a statement addressing Ye’s antisemitic comments, in it they said: “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.” Adding that they would take a “short-term” loss of €250 million and end production of products under West’s Yeezy brand.

However, they have been challenged on how long they took to address West’s comments, with Adidas Director of Trade Marketing Sarah Camhi writing on LinkedIn:“It’s been 14 days since Kanye started spewing anti-Semitic rhetoric and adidas has remained quiet.”

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What has Spotify said?

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has called West’s comments “awful” but has confirmed that the platform will not be removing the rappers music. Reported by the Hollywood Reporter, Ek told Reuters “It’s really just his music, and his music doesn’t violate our policy”, adding: “It’s up to his label, if they want to take action or not.”

What happened with Sketchers?

According to TMZ, West reportedly turned up at the Sketchers headquarters in Los Angeles uninvited in an attempt to find a brand that would sell his Yeezy trainers after they were dropped from Adidas and many stores pulled them from their sheleves.

In a statement Sketchers said the rapper had turned up unannounced at their corporate office and had engaged in “unathorised filming”.

They confirmed the brand, which is owned and operated by a Jewish family, would not be working with West, stating: “Skechers is not considering and has no intention of working with West. We condemn his recent divisive remarks and do not tolerate antisemitism or any other form of hate speech. Again, West showed up unannounced and uninvited to Skechers corporate offices.”

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