Skechers, Unlike Adidas, Is Lauded for Its Kanye Handling

Thom Weidlich 11.03.22


Footwear brand Skechers is being hailed, and rightfully so, for its handling of controversial recording artist Kanye West, also known as Ye. West has been spewing antisemitic nonsense of late and when he came knock, knock, knockin’ on Skechers’ door, the company turned him away.

Skechers issued a press release Oct. 26 in which it revealed that West (pictured, center) had “arrived unannounced and without invitation at one of Skechers’ corporate offices in Los Angeles.” The megastar was engaging in unauthorized filming and so two executives “escorted him and his party from the building.”

The company took the opportunity to make clear it has no connection to West and has no intention of working with him. It also explained its position regarding his utterances: “We condemn his recent divisive remarks and do not tolerate antisemitism or any other form of hate speech.”

Quickly, Resolutely

What was noteworthy was how quickly and resolutely the company acted. It’s unclear what time West made his appearance, but the press release was posted on Business Wire at 2:02 p.m. Los Angeles time. It’s also unclear whether anyone would have known about the incident had Skechers not revealed it.

One can imagine a company in a similar position hemming and hawing for days about whether to say anything. Skechers displayed nimble crisis communications.

The event even gave rise to a Skechers sketch on Saturday Night Live that poked fun at the footwear specialist for maybe being a little proud of itself, though the bit was actually funny.

Adidas Response

The sketch mentioned something other observers have: Adidas’ slow response to the troubles Ye wrought. Granted, the situations are different in that, starting in 2015, the German footwear and apparel company collaborated with West on their Yeezy brand. When Adidas finally announced it would cut ties with him (the day before the Skechers flap), it said the breakup meant a negative impact on net income of up to $261 million. Yeezy reportedly brought in 10 percent of Adidas’ revenue.

Still, Adidas is rightfully being criticized for taking too long to act. The company put West  under review on Oct. 6 and then took 20 days to make a decision, according to Fast Company journalist Jeff Beer. Companies that use celebrity endorsers must plan for the possibility that their famous boosters will do something stupid and hurt the brand. It’s not an unusual occurrence.

Photo Credit: DKSStyle/Shutterstock

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