Following antisemitic social media posts made earlier in October, companies, brand deals and sponsorships have systematically been severing ties with Kanye West, who legally changed his name to Ye last year.
This is everything you need to know.
What did Kanye West say?
West’s Instagram and Twitter accounts were both locked after he published antisemitic posts in early October, stating in one that he was going “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE”. West’s use of the term “death con 3” refers to the US military term “Defcon 3”, an alert system used to indicate levels of readiness.
Defcon 5 is the least severe level, and the worst is Defcon 1, which signals the outbreak of nuclear warfare. The Jewish Chronicle reported that West’s tweet “declared a metaphorical war on Jewish people”.
His tweet in full read: “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew also You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda”
A spokesperson for Twitter said that his account had been locked due to “a violation of Twitter’s policies”.
Over on Instagram, West also claimed that record producer Sean “Diddy” Combs was being controlled by Jewish people.
What is Donda Sports?
Donda Sports is West’s sports marketing agency, which, according to a statement about the company, “was founded with the vision of providing holistic support to athletes during and beyond their sports career”.
The statement added: “Donda Sports is a limitless organisation centred on professional and wellness support in equal measure with the ambition to work with athletes across all genders, divisions and sports.
“Donda Sports also encompasses athlete representation [and is] a full serviced sports brand including apparel, sneakers and much more.”
When Donda Sports was formally launched in May of this year, American football player Aaron Donald and basketball player Jaylen Brown were the first two athletes signed - both of which have now cut ties with the rapper and his organisations.
What have Brown and Donald said about Donda Sports?
On Monday (24 October), NBA All-Star Jaylen Brown had said that he planned to stay with Donda Sports, however he ultimately reversed his decision the following day.
In an official statement shared on Twitter, Brown said: “In the past 24 hours, I’ve been able to reflect and better understand how my previous statements lack clarity in expressing my stance against recent insensitive public remarks and actions. For that, I apologise. And in this, I seek to be as clear as possible. I have always, and will always, continue to stand strongly against any antisemitism, hate speech, misrepresentation, and oppresive rhetoric of any kind.
“In light of that, after sharing in conversations, I now recognise that there are times when my voice and my position can’t coexist in space that don’t correspond with my stance or my values. And, for that reason, I am terminating my association with Donda Sports.
“I do seek to continue providing mentorship, love, and support to the incredible children, faculty, and young athletes with whom I’ve been grateful to form bonds and relationships with during my time with Donda Academy.”
Los Angeles defensive linesman Aaron Donald also announced his decision to end his contract with Donda Sports on Twitter as well.
He said: “Our family has made the decision to part ways with Donda Sports. The recent comments and displays of hate and antisemitism are the exact opposite of how we choose to live our lives and raise our children. We find them to be irresponsible and go against everything we believe in as a family.
“As parents and members of society, we felt a responsibility to send a clear message that hateful words and actions have consequences and that we must do better as human beings. We do not feel our beliefs, voices and actions belong anywhere near a space that misrepresents and oppressed people of any background, ethnicity or race.
“We’ve had the pleasure of working with many incredible people along the way and hope to continue to use our platform to uplift and support other families, children and communities through positive outreach.”
Who else has cut ties with the rapper?
Other brands and companies that have cut ties with West include:
- Sportswear giant Adidas, which said it does “not tolerate antisemitism and any sort of hate speech”
- West’s talent agency CAA, which represented West’s touring since 2016
- Def Jam, the production company that West has long been associated with
- Balenciaga, with its parent company Kering stating that the brand “has no longer any relationship or any plans for future projects related to this artist”
- The Gap, which is ending its Yeezy Gap partnership, said “antisemitism, racism and hate in any form are inexcusable and not tolerated in accordance with our values”
West’s ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, also spoke out against the rapper for his behaviour in a tweet, in which she wrote: “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.”
As of Tuesday (25 October), West is no longer featured on the Forbes billionaire list, with the publication placing his net worth at an estimated $400 million.
Forbes said: “The remainder of Ye’s fortune, Forbes estimates, comes from real estate, cash, his music catalogue and a 5% stake in ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s shapewear firm, Skims.”