PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – On Tuesday, Adidas announced they are ending their partnership with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, after he made antisemitic comments online, the company said.

With its North American headquarters in Portland, the company told KOIN 6 News that layoffs are “not up for discussion” as a result and say their employees’ skills will still be needed within the organization.

Justin King, who owns Ben and Esther’s Vegan Jewish Deli in Portland, told KOIN 6 News they were recently targeted with a swastika graffitied on their logo and a threatening antisemitic phone call.

“It bothered me when I saw Kanye’s thing, and I knew there would be fallout, and we saw it the next day in LA,” King said.

King noted the fallout from Ye’s comments – including disturbing messages above a freeway in California over the weekend.

“That’s the dangerous thing, right? I tend to take things that Kanye says with a grain of salt but it’s clearly dangerous just because of his reach,” King said.

Ye’s antisemitic comments come at a time when the Anti-Defamation League says antisemitic acts are at an all-time high with the northwest being one of top areas in the country for hate crimes and white nationalist propaganda.

“We’ve certainly seen an uptick in the last 10 years, in particular since 2016,” said Stephen Paolini of the Anti-Defamation League Northwest. “Historically, with antisemitism, it’s most prevalent as we begin to see the fraying of democratic norms in societies. As countries become more polarized, as democratic institutions weaken, that is when we see antisemitism at its worst.”

Stephen Paolini of the Anti-Defamation League in Portland, October 25, 2022 (KOIN)
Stephen Paolini of the Anti-Defamation League in Portland, October 25, 2022 (KOIN)

As for their decision to part ways with Ye, Adidas says it “does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech. Ye’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 Anti-Defamation League and King both commend Adidas’ decision.

“I’m glad that a company, that’s HQ here in Portland, is taking that internationally recognized step. It’s important,” King said.

Adidas is the latest in a growing list of brands to drop Ye, including Gap.

Bias crimes can be reported to the Oregon Department of Justice Bias Response Hotline at 1-844-924-2427.