Abrams: Ye made a bad bet that rants would be good business

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation) — I’m hoping this will be my final word on Ye, formerly known as Kanye West. I’m not promising, but I hope.

But there’s a significant point that isn’t being made enough, and that is he thought he was too powerful, too big, too important, to care. The rules of a civilized society, he thought, didn’t apply to him. But now he’s learning a lesson the hard way.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the shoe brand Skechers told NewsNation that Ye was escorted out of their Los Angeles headquarters. In a statement, they wrote: “We condemn his recent divisive remarks and do not tolerate antisemitism or any other form of hate speech. The Company would like to again stress that West showed up unannounced and uninvited to Skechers corporate offices.”

Ye actively courted this controversy. It wasn’t a slip of the tongue or misguided statement taken out of context. He didn’t just tweet antisemitic posts – That’s what earned his social media suspension. But he’s repeatedly doubled down on his comments. I’m not going to amplify all of them here. You get the idea from these comments to my NewsNation colleague, Chris Cuomo.

“The Jewish people that I’m talking about don’t have to understand. And that is that privilege that I’m not going to allow. When I wore the ‘White Lives Matter’ tee shirt, the Jewish underground media mafia already started attacking me,” Ye said.

There’s plenty more. It’s not just about Jewish people either.

Look, last week, I called out those in the media who seemed to be giving him something of a pass by citing his struggles with bipolar disorder. I argued that his provocative comments were part of an effort to expand his brand, and that he was convinced he could keep the current fans and gain more with his sort of provocative free speech arguments.

Any suggestions to the contrary, minimize his conscious decision to it seems too easy and protective of him to say, well, you know, he’s just mentally ill. It seems likely he is. And that he also wanted to own this fringe market, not just politically, but financially. It appears that business strategy has backfired in a major way.

In the past week, banking giant JP Morgan Chase cut ties with him, Hollywood financier MRC announced Monday it was ending its relationship with him, his talent agency CAA dropped him, as did the law firm that represented him. The fashion brands Gap, Balenciaga and Adidas all severed business relationships with him as well.

Now, the Adidas one is a big one. They were the last major brand to succumb, which will reportedly cost them $250 million a year, as his Yeezy line represents nearly 10% of Adidas’ annual revenue.

He simply misjudged how valuable he was to the world. In particular with Adidas, we know that because he said this on the Drink Champs podcast on Oct. 15.

“The thing about it, me and Adidas is like, I could literally say antisemitic sh*t, and they can’t drop me. I could say antisemitic things and Adidas can’t drop me. Now what? Now what,” Ye said.

Now what? Now Ye will find lucrative partnerships nearly impossible to find.

Now I should say that I generally don’t like advertiser company boycotts, what is often cancel culture. I think companies severing ties with people who say unpopular things can be dangerous. I’d like to think in a consumer facing business, consumers rather than CEOs and corporate boards, can make those decisions. But they do often go hand in hand. And these companies are well within their right to make these decisions.

It’s not only principled, but also smart business for them. He’s tried to appeal to the fringe, and in so doing he alienated the mainstream, where the majority of us and the big dollars are.

This distancing from Kanye West is going deep.

Tuesday, two high profile athletes, Rams all-pro Aaron Donald and Celtic all-star Jaylen Brown, cut ties with Ye’s Donda Sports agency.

Though the president of the agency, Antonio Brown, has decided to continue to preside over the talent agency that now has no clients that we know of remaining, at least not in the public eye.

The bottom line: Ye thought he was untouchable. He thought he was bigger and better and more powerful than everyone else. It was humorous. And because of that, he’s losing everything.

As Ye himself said, now what?

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.

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