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Kanye off Forbes’ billionaires list after antisemitism cost him brand deals

The rapper lost an Adidas sponsorship valued at $1.5 billion after praising Hitler in podcast interviews

For the first time in three years, Kanye West will not appear on Forbes’ annual list of billionaires worldwide. The rapper’s net worth plummeted to $400 million when he lost his decade-long brand deal with Adidas, the manufacturer of his Yeezy sneaker line, after making antisemitic remarks in October.

West, who is now legally known as Ye, first landed on the billionaires list in 2020 thanks to his deal with Adidas, which Forbes valued as worth $1.5 billion. Previously, West had lobbied to join the list for years.

West began espousing antisemitic rhetoric on social media last fall, and claimed on a podcast, “I can say antisemitic shit and Adidas cannot drop me.”

But Adidas cut ties with West the following week, after hundreds of thousands of people called for them to do so on social media. Dropping West cost the athletic company an estimated $535 million in unsold Yeezys. Other brands, including the Gap and Balenciaga, also severed their brand deals with West.

Beyond its effect on his net worth, West’s antisemitism has had real world implications. In February, the Anti-Defamation League reported that at least 30 antisemitic incidents since October directly referenced the rapper. Oren Segal, the vice president of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, noted that hate groups leveraged West’s high profile to amplify their existing beliefs.

At the end of March, West returned to Instagram with the announcement that watching 21 Jump Street, the 2012 buddy cop comedy starring Jonah Hill, made him “like Jewish people again.” In a caption of the movie poster, he wrote: “No one should take anger against one or two individuals and transform that into hatred towards millions of innocent people.”

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