With Kanye West no longer a part of Adidas’ corporate strategy, the company was left in the awkward position of sitting on a massive supply of unsold Yeezy product and no great options for getting rid of it. Obviously, selling off the back stock would put more royalties in the hands of West just after public sentiment had turned against him (with no guarantee the product would move after it hit shelves), but destroying the kicks would be a huge financial blow. Ultimately, Adidas decided to go with option A, and according to Rolling Stone, it seems like the choice paid off, to the tune of nearly half-a-billion bucks.
In late May, Adidas unvaulted about a quarter of its remaining Yeezy merchandise, and since then, brought in about $437 million. A portion of that profit will be donated to two charities: the Anti-Defamation League and the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change to offset the harm Kanye’s 2022 media tour caused.
The Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute is a nonprofit established by the brother of George Floyd; during an interview with Drink Champs, Kanye parroted a racist right-wing conspiracy theory that Floyd died from a fentanyl overdose rather than being suffocated by a police officer in put his knee on Floyd’s neck, despite his protests that he couldn’t breathe. Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League is a well-known civil rights organization working to reduce antisemitic harm — which Ye did plenty of over the past year.
Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden said this option is “much better than destroying and writing off the inventory and allows us to make substantial donations.” The company did not say how much it donated, only that the amount had been discussed with recipients beforehand, and cited its “contractual obligations” with regard to whether Kanye will receive royalties (he will).