In October 2022, Adidas officially ended its partnership with Kanye West, leaving the company with $1 billion worth of unsold Yeezy products and a decision to make about the future of the Yeezy designs. Ultimately, Adidas made the decision to sell off the rest of the stock after a class-action lawsuit filed by Adidas shareholders accused the company of knowing about West’s problematic behavior and not doing enough to mitigate the potential damage.
Now, according to Bloomberg, Adidas and Kanye are locked in another legal dispute over the brand’s marketing fund for Yeezy, which is reportedly worth $100 million a year. According to court filings, Adidas says West “mishandled virtually all of the marketing funds” — using them for different purposes than they were intended. $50 million went to an account in Wyoming, while another $25 million went to Kanye’s JPMorgan Chase account in New York (which has since been closed by the bank in response to Kanye’s antisemitic comments). However, the money was transferred to a separate account for general Yeezy funds, which Adidas says violated the parties’ agreement.
Meanwhile, Kanye’s lawyers reiterate his accusation that Adidas stole Yeezy designs to make lower-priced shoes. According to the terms of the agreement, though, Adidas owns all the designs while Kanye licensed his name and likeness to Adidas. Adidas has requested for Ye’s accounts to be frozen to prevent him from moving the allegedly misappropriated $75 million, which Kanye said he used on Sunday Services. He says the traveling gospel choir performances cost around $50 million.
Unfortunately for Adidas, the account freeze was denied and the dispute is in private arbitration.