This latest bout of hate speech is the culmination of years during which Ye has made incendiary and harmful comments — none of which prompted the kind of professional consequences he’s now facing.
Adidas, Balenciaga and CAA all stuck by Ye in 2018 after he suggested that slavery was “a choice” on TMZ. The companies didn’t react later that year when Ye ended an episode of Saturday Night Live with a rant that included him saying, “Blacks weren’t always Democrats. It’s like a plan they did to take the fathers out the homes and promote welfare. Does anybody know about that? That’s the Democratic plan.”
Ye’s business arrangements were not impacted in 2016 after he specified that he would be hiring “multiracial women only” for Yeezy Season 4 — a choice that inspired accusations of colorism. Nor were they impacted in 2020 when, speaking at a rally, Ye said that Harriett Tubman “never actually freed the slaves” but instead sent them to “go work for other white people.”
After Ye appeared at Paris Fashion Week wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt earlier this month, Adidas did put his contracts under review. But it took a mountain of online pressure and an open letter from the Anti-Defamation League to spur Adidas into more decisive action. (“At this point, what more do you need to review?” ADL CEO Jan Runau asked.)