Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted flat-out dismissed calls for his company to cut ties with rap superstar Kanye West over his recent comments on slavery.
“There clearly are some comments we don’t support,” Rorsted said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “Kanye has been and is a very important part of our strategy and has been a fantastic creator.”
Rorsted added that West has become “very important part of our brand from a revenue standpoint and how we promote our products,” but said that they would discuss his concerns with him privately.
West, 40, caused outrage among racial activists after suggesting that centuries of black people being enslaved sounded more like a “choice.”
“When you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 years?! That sounds like a choice,” West said in an interview with TMZ on Tuesday. “Like, you were there for 400 years and it’s all of you all? Like, we’re mentally in prison.”
Some were so infuriated they signed a petition calling on Adidas to cut ties with West, who has recently launched a new style of Yeezy shoes with the Germany-based sports brand.
“While Kanye can live safely in his multimillion-dollar castle, the rest of black America is continually marginalized and subject to unjust laws and treatment,” the petition argued. “Some even die because this behavior is so ingrained in our society.”
“Kanye West has a right to free speech, and he has the right to spout lies and misinformation and misplaced opinions — but we as consumers have the right to fight back against this type of dangerous propaganda.”
In recent weeks, West has gained massive attention for his political beliefs, having praised the likes of President Donald Trump and black conservative activist Candace Owens, while urging black people to engage in “free thinking” over following a group mentality.