The rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has caused controversy with his alleged antisemitic comments - and though he’s been dropped by Adidas, one expert has predicted that the sale of his Yeezy shoes will not be negatively impacted, even though his personal wealth could be.
The German sportswear giant cut ties with West earlier this month after his alleged comments, with Adidas stating that the brand “does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech”. The company is also to end production for products under West’s Yeezy brand and stop all payments to the rapper and his companies.
So, what will happen now to existing Yeezy shoes that people own, and could they even go up in value? NationalWorld spoke to Independent Financial Advisor Ian Dempsey to find out.
What did Kanye West say?
During an appearance on the Drink Champs podcast on Saturday 15 October, West blamed “Jewish media” and “Jewish Zionists” for numerous alleged wrongdoings, saying that “Jewish people have owned the Black voice” and that “the Jewish community, especially in the music industry… they’ll take us and milk us till we die”.
During the three-hour long podcast, West sparked further controversy by claiming that George Floyd died from the drug fentanyl and that a police officer’s knee “wasn’t even on his neck like that”. The mother of Floyd’s daughter is now suing West for $250m over his claim, and the episode has since been taken down. Later on the same day, Saturday 15 October, the singer also claimed that he “doesn’t believe” in the term antisemitism.
What impact will Kanye West’s comments have on the price of Yeezy shoes?
Although Adidas have stopped producing Yeezy products, the price of them may actually increase, Independent Financial Advisor Ian Dempsey has predicted. He said: “We have already seen an increased demand for the products he’s endorsed, rightly or wrongly given his public comments and seemingly unstable condition. It’s a simple case of supply and demand, they aren’t being made anymore so the demand has gone up.
“I think the real money on them will be made in the resale market with an already premium product attracting even more interest at the prospect of no more supply. The demand for his shoes and clothing was already high, and forced high by the suppliers through offering on them limited edition sales.
“So, those who have bought them will no doubt see those sale prices increase significantly and I expect that to continue rising over time but he won’t benefit directly from the resales now Adidas have pulled the plug. It remains to be seen if some of the resale sites like StockX or eBay take a similar stance as Adidas but I don’t think they will.”
What impact will the Kanye West controversy have on Adidas’ business?
While Adidas did not release Yeezy sales numbers, Morningstar analyst David Swartz estimated the brand brought in close to $2 billion a year. Swartz projects overall Adidas revenues to hit $23 billion this year, which would make Yeezy sales represent nearly 10% of the total.
The termination of the contract with West, will therefore have an impact on the business, but Dempsey, who has 16 years experience in the financial sector, believes Adidas acted quickly to protect their positive reputation as West was getting an increasingly negative reputation.
He said: “I think they’ve acted swiftly to protect their brand, their business is far too valuable for them to be impacted by any public or press backlash for selling products endorsed by Ye. I also read that he walked into Skechers HQ and was promptly escorted from the premises so it seems the footwear industry is standing firm with Adidas on this one - as they should. Interestingly he only turned to Adidas after not getting the deal he wanted from Nike originally after releasing a shoe with them in the first instance. It seems he has burnt a lot of bridges.”
West has previously caused controversy by refer to Daily Show host Trevor Noah with a racial slur in an Instagram post that was then deleted by the platform. He’s also been accused of being a “bully” by model Gigi Hadid after he criticised Vogue editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson and has been called out for making body shaming comments about singer Lizzo.
What will happen to Kanye West’s net worth?
The singer is no longer a billionaire following the fallout from his alleged comments, according to Forbes Magazine, and Ian Dempsey believes the backlash against Kanye West will have a “stratospheric impact” on his net worth.
He said: “He’s been in the press for all of the wrong reasons over the last few years and it will really hit him hard. His marketable value right now is absolutely rock bottom and it will be very difficult to recover from. Let’s be real though he was an artist, and arguably a great one, first and foremost so he will still hold a considerable net worth from his music royalties.
“I’m just not so sure he will recover from It though. The world of celebrity is a fickle place though and we all love a rise from the ashes story, it waits to be seen if this will be the case for him.”