Adidas Ends Kanye West Partnership, Gap Pulls Yeezy Products Over Rapper’s Anti-Semitic Remarks
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Adidas Ends Kanye West Partnership, Gap Pulls Yeezy Products Over Rapper’s Anti-Semitic Remarks

Sportswear company’s move ends lucrative arrangement that produced the popular Yeezy collection of sneakers

Wed, Oct 26, 2022 8:49amGrey Clock 4 min

Adidas AG said it would end its partnership with Kanye West and Gap Inc. said it would pull apparel he helped design from its stores, after a string of controversies including a recent anti-Semitic outburst from the musician and fashion-brand owner.

Adidas’s decision, which ends a lucrative arrangement that has produced the popular Yeezy collection of sneakers, comes after weeks of pressure on the German sportswear company from human-rights advocates and after other businesses severed their ties with Mr. West, who goes by Ye.

Gap, which ended its partnership with Mr. West in September but was still selling items it had already produced, said Tuesday that it was removing Yeezy Gap products from its stores and had shut down a website that was still selling hoodies and other merchandise from the partnership.

“Our former partner’s recent remarks and behaviour further underscore why” Gap ended its partnership, the retailer said in a statement.

Mr. West and his representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. He has publicly complained about Adidas and Gap, accusing the companies of stealing his designs and breaking promises to expand his ventures. He had said that he was key to Adidas’s success. “I can say antisemitic things and Adidas can’t drop me. Now what?” he said in a podcast that aired earlier this month.

In early October, Mr. West appeared at his Yzy fashion show in Paris wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt, a slogan often used by white supremacist groups, and a week later wrote a tweet that said in part that he planned to go “death con [sic] 3 on Jewish people.”

Film-and-television studio MRC and French fashion house Balenciaga are among companies that have distanced themselves from Mr. West in recent weeks. The talent agency CAA has dropped Mr. West as a client, according to a person familiar with the matter.

On Oct. 6, Adidas put its partnership with Mr. West under review. Days later, Twitter Inc. and Meta Platforms Inc.’s Instagram locked his accounts after he made anti-Semitic posts.

Adidas said Tuesday that Mr. West’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.”

The breakup adds another major headwind for Adidas, which has been struggling to grow in China, the largest apparel and footwear market in the world. Adidas is also in the midst of searching for a new chief executive after the company unexpectedly said in August that its current leader, Kasper Rorsted, will step down next year.

“The termination of the partnership with Kanye West is understandable and necessary. Financially, the termination is a heavy blow,” said Ingo Speich, head of sustainability and corporate governance at German fund manager Deka Investment, which holds 0.7% of Adidas. “It remains to be hoped that no further partnerships will be lost.”

Adidas said it would terminate the partnership immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Mr. West and his companies. The decision is expected to have a short-term hit of up to €250 million, equivalent to $247 million, on the company’s net income in 2022, the company said.

Adidas shares fell more than 3% in Frankfurt trading Tuesday. They are down more than 60% this year.

Over the weekend, protesters in Los Angeles held a banner above a major freeway expressing support for Mr. West’s statements. “Kanye is right about the Jews,” it read.

After photos of the incident circulated on social media, a chorus of celebrities condemned anti-Semitism in online posts, including Kim Kardashian, who filed for divorce from Mr. West in 2021.

“Hate speech is never OK or excusable,” she wrote on Twitter on Monday. “I stand together with the Jewish community and call on the terrible violence and hateful rhetoric towards them to come to an immediate end.”

Human-rights campaigners in recent days had publicly criticised Adidas over its partnership with Mr. West. On Tuesday, the Central Council of Jews in Germany called on the company to end its partnership with the artist.

“As a German company, I simply expect from Adidas a clear stance when it comes to anti-Semitism,” the organisation’s president, Dr. Josef Schuster, said on Twitter. “Entrepreneurial interests must not be the priority.”

Addressing Adidas, Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, tweeted on Monday that “your silence is a danger to Jews.”

Adidas on Tuesday said it “does not tolerate anti-Semitism and any other sort of hate speech.”

Mr. West’s ventures in sneakers date to at least 2006 when he first collaborated with Adidas on a shoe that was never released. A year later the rapper started working with Nike Inc. and eventually released the coveted Nike Air Yeezy II, which included the famed Red Octobers. The Nike partnership ended in 2013.

Items that the artist designed in collaboration with Adidas made their debut in 2015, and the parties entered a long-term partnership the following year.

In the arrangement, Mr. West lends the Yeezy brand to the company in return for royalties of about 15% of the sales of Yeezy products. Adidas designs and manufactures the products, and it owns the designs, according to people familiar with the deal.

The partnership has been a boon for Adidas. The tie-up accounts for as much as 8% of Adidas’s total sales, analysts at UBS said in a report last week.

Without the partnership, the company’s annual sales have grown just 1% on average since 2017 compared with the actual sales growth of 3%, UBS estimated. Adidas has said that its partnership with Yeezy was one of the most successful collaborations in the industry.

But in recent months, Mr. West has criticised Adidas, as well as Gap, on social media. Gap decided to end its relationship with Mr. West last month, saying the company and Mr. West are “not aligned” in how they work together, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

Earlier this month, Adidas said it made repeated attempts to privately resolve disputes with Mr. West.

The breakup with Mr. West piles further pressure on the sporting goods maker, days after it cut its full-year guidance, citing a weaker business environment in China as well as a significant inventory buildup as a result of lower consumer demand in major Western markets. Other factors, such as suspended operations in Russia and the supply-chain problems that have engulfed global business, have contributed to the company’s lacklustre performance lately.

The company said on Thursday that it now expects currency-neutral revenue to grow by a mid-single-digit percentage rate in 2022, down from a mid- to high-single-digit percentage forecast previously.

Corrections & Amplifications
The musician and fashion-brand owner is Kanye West. An earlier version of this article incorrectly called him Kayne West in one instance. (Corrected on Oct. 25)


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Electric Cars and Driving Range: Here’s What to Know

How far can an electric car really go on a full charge? What can you do to make it go farther? We answer these and other questions that EV buyers might ask.

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Many people considering an electric vehicle are turned off by their prices or the paucity of public charging stations. But the biggest roadblock often is “range anxiety”—the fear of getting stuck on a desolate road with a dead battery.

All EVs carry window stickers stating how far they should go on a full charge. Yet these range estimates—overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency and touted in carmakers’ ads—can be wrong in either direction: either overstating or understating the distance that can be driven, sometimes by 25% or more.

How can that be? Below are questions and answers about how driving ranges are calculated, what factors affect the range, and things EV owners can do to go farther on a charge.

How far will an electric vehicle go on a full battery?

The distance, according to EPA testing, ranges from 516 miles for the 2023 Lucid Air Grand Touring with 19-inch wheels to 100 miles for the 2023 Mazda MX-30.

Most EVs are in the 200-to-300-mile range. While that is less than the distance that many gasoline-engine cars can go on a full tank, it makes them suitable for most people’s daily driving and medium-size trips. Yet it can complicate longer journeys, especially since public chargers can be far apart, occupied or out of service. Plus, it takes many times longer to charge an EV than to fill a tank with gas.

How accurate are the EPA range estimates?

Testing by Car and Driver magazine found that few vehicles go as far as the EPA stickers say. On average, the distance was 12.5% shorter, according to the peer-reviewed study distributed by SAE International, formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers.

In some cases, the estimates were further off: The driving range of Teslas fell below their EPA estimate by 26% on average, the greatest shortfall of any EV brand the magazine tested. Separately, federal prosecutors have sought information about the driving range of Teslas, The Wall Street Journal reported. Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The study also said Ford’s F-150 Lightning pickup truck went 230 miles compared with the EPA’s 300-mile estimate, while the Chevrolet Bolt EV went 220 miles versus the EPA’s 259.

A GM spokesman said that “actual range may vary based on several factors, including things like temperature, terrain/road type, battery age, loading, use and maintenance.” Ford said in a statement that “the EPA [figure] is a standard. Real-world range is affected by many factors, including driving style, weather, temperature and if the battery has been preconditioned.”

Meanwhile, testing by the car-shopping site Edmunds found that most vehicles beat their EPA estimates. It said the Ford Lightning went 332 miles on a charge, while the Chevy Bolt went 265 miles.

That is confusing. How can the test results vary so much?

Driving range depends largely on the mixture of highway and city roads used for testing. Unlike gasoline-powered cars, EVs are more efficient in stop-and-go driving because slowing down recharges their batteries through a process called regenerative braking. Conversely, traveling at a high speed can eat up a battery’s power faster, while many gas-engine cars meet or exceed their EPA highway miles-per-gallon figure.

What types of driving situations do the various tests use?

Car and Driver uses only highway driving to see how far an EV will go at a steady 75 mph before running out of juice. Edmunds uses a mix of 60% city driving and 40% highway. The EPA test, performed on a treadmill, simulates a mixture of 55% highway driving and 45% city streets.

What’s the reasoning behind the different testing methods?

Edmunds believes the high proportion of city driving it uses is more representative of typical EV owners, says Jonathan Elfalan, Edmunds’s director of vehicle testing. “Most of the driving [in an EV] isn’t going to be road-tripping but driving around town,” he says.

Car and Driver, conversely, says its all-highway testing is deliberately more taxing than the EPA method. High-speed interstate driving “really isn’t covered by the EPA’s methodology,” says Dave VanderWerp, the magazine’s testing director. “Even for people driving modest highway commutes, we think they’d want to know that their car could get 20%-30% less range than stated on the window sticker.”

What does the EPA say about the accuracy of its range figures?

The agency declined to make a representative available to comment, but said in a statement: “Just like there are variations in EPA’s fuel-economy label [for gas-engine cars] and people’s actual experience on the road for a given make and model of cars/SUVs, BEV [battery electric vehicle] range can exceed or fall short of the label value.”

What should an EV shopper do with these contradictory range estimates?

Pick the one based on the testing method that you think matches how you generally will drive, highway versus city. When shopping for a car, be sure to compare apples to apples—don’t, for instance, compare the EPA range estimate for one vehicle with the Edmunds one for another. And view all these figures with skepticism. The estimates are just that.

Since range is so important to many EV buyers, why don’t carmakers simply add more batteries to provide greater driving distance?

Batteries are heavy and are the most expensive component in an EV, making up some 30% of the overall vehicle cost. Adding more could cut into a vehicle’s profit margin while the added weight means yet more battery power would be used to move the car.

But battery costs have declined over the past 10 years and are expected to continue to fall, while new battery technologies likely will increase their storage capacity. Already, some of the newest EV models can store more power at similar sticker prices to older ones.

What can an EV owner do to increase driving range?

The easiest thing is to slow down. High speeds eat up battery life faster. Traveling at 80 miles an hour instead of 65 can cut the driving range by 17%, according to testing by Geotab, a Canadian transportation-data company. And though a primal appeal of EVs is their zippy takeoff, hard acceleration depletes a battery much quicker than gentle acceleration.

Does cold weather lower the driving range?

It does, and sometimes by a great amount. The batteries are used to heat the car’s interior—there is no engine creating heat as a byproduct as in a gasoline car. And many EVs also use electricity to heat the batteries themselves, since cold can deteriorate the chemical reaction that produces power.

Testing by Consumer Reports found that driving in 15- to-20-degrees Fahrenheit weather at 70 mph can reduce range by about 25% compared to similar-speed driving in 65 degrees.

A series of short cold-weather trips degraded the range even more. Consumer Reports drove two EVs 40 miles each in 20-degree air, then cooled them off before starting again on another 40-mile drive. The cold car interiors were warmed by the heater at the start of each of three such drives. The result: range dropped by about 50%.

Does air conditioning degrade range?

Testing by Consumer Reports and others has found that using the AC has a much lower impact on battery range than cold weather, though that effect seems to increase in heat above 85 degrees.

I don’t want to freeze or bake in my car to get more mileage. What can I do?

“Precondition” your EV before driving off, says Alex Knizek, manager of automotive testing and insights at Consumer Reports. In other words, chill or heat it while it is still plugged in to a charger at home or work rather than using battery power on the road to do so. In the winter, turn on the seat heaters, which many EVs have, so you be comfortable even if you keep the cabin temperature lower. In the summer, try to park in the shade.

What about the impact from driving in a mountainous area?

Going up hills takes more power, so yes, it drains the battery faster, though EVs have an advantage over gas vehicles in that braking on the downside of hills returns juice to the batteries with regenerative braking.

Are there other factors that can affect range?

Tires play a role. Beefy all-terrain tires can eat up more electricity than standard ones, as can larger-diameter ones. And underinflated tires create more rolling resistance, and so help drain the batteries.

Most EVs give the remaining driving range on a dashboard screen. Are these projections accurate?

The meters are supposed to take into account your speed, outside temperature and other factors to keep you apprised in real time of how much farther you can travel. But EV owners and car-magazine testers complain that these “distance to empty” gauges can suddenly drop precipitously if you go from urban driving to a high-speed highway, or enter mountainous territory.

So be careful about overly relying on these gauges and take advantage of opportunities to top off your battery during a multihour trip. These stops could be as short as 10 or 15 minutes during a bathroom or coffee break, if you can find a high-powered DC charger.

Before embarking on a long trip, what should an EV owner do?

Fully charge the car at home before departing. This sounds obvious but can be controversial, since many experts say that routinely charging past 80% of a battery’s capacity can shorten its life. But they also say that charging to 100% occasionally won’t do damage. Moreover, plan your charging stops in advance to ease the I-might-run-out panic.

So battery life is an issue with EVs, just as with smartphones?

Yes, an EV battery’s ability to fully charge will degrade with use and age, likely leading to shorter driving range. Living in a hot area also plays a role. The federal government requires an eight-year/100,000-mile warranty on EV batteries for serious failure, while some EV makers go further and cover degradation of charging capacity. Replacing a bad battery costs many thousands of dollars.

What tools are available to map out charging stations?

Your EV likely provides software on the navigation screen as well as a phone app that show charging stations. Google and Apple maps provide a similar service, as do apps and websites of charging-station networks.

But always have a backup stop in mind—you might arrive at a charging station and find that cars are lined up waiting or that some of the chargers are broken. Damaged or dysfunctional chargers have been a continuing issue for the industry.

Any more tips?

Be sure to carry a portable charger with you—as a last resort you could plug it into any 120-volt outlet to get a dribble of juice.


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Chris Dixon, a partner who led the charge, says he has a ‘very long-term horizon’

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