Kanye West dropped by Foot Locker and TJ Maxx, escorted from Skechers HQ after “unannounced” visit

Kanye West during Paris Fashion Week 2022

TJ Maxx and Foot Locker are the latest companies to cut ties with Kanye West – and Skechers refused to engage him in potentially establishing them – taking a stance against the rapper’s recent antisemitic and racist comments.

In a statement shared with CNN, a representative for TJ Maxx said the retailer “do[es] not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or hate of any kind”. They confirmed that the company would cease stocking Yeezy branded products in all of its worldwide markets (spanning over 4,500 stores), continuing: “We have instructed our buying teams not to purchase this merchandise for sale in any of our stores globally.”

Foot Locker similarly made it clear that West’s recent conduct was to blame for his Yeezy Gap products being pulled from shelves. Also speaking to CNN, a representative said: “Our former partner’s recent remarks and behavior further underscore why we are taking immediate steps to remove Yeezy Gap product from our stores.”

The unnamed spokesperson went on to explain that Foot Locker would remain “a partner” of Adidas – who also dropped West earlier this week, but released dozens of Yeezy-branded shoe lines – however any new or existing products bearing the Yeezy logo will be pulled from its stores. “We will not be supporting any future Yeezy product drops,” they continued, “and we have instructed our retail operators to pull any existing product from our shelves and digital sites.”

TJ Maxx and Foot Locker join a growing list of companies to sever ties with West, alongside the likes of Gap, Def Jam, JP Morgan Chase and Balenciaga, as well as his lawyer and booking agency. In the wake of his deal with Adidas being axed, West’s net worth reportedly plummeted from $2billion (£1.3billion) to $400million (£348million).

Meanwhile, TMZ reports that West was escorted from Skechers’ main office in Manhattan Beach, California on Wednesday morning (October 26), after the rapper made an unanticipated visit. A representative for the shoe brand – which is owned by a Jewish family – told TMZ that West entered its headquarters “unannounced and without invitation”, and was seen out by two executives after “a brief conversation”. It’s also noted that West was joined by at least one other person, and had “engaged in unauthorized filming”.

“Skechers is not considering and has no intention of working with West,” the statement continued. “We condemn his recent divisive remarks and do not tolerate antisemitism or any other form of hate speech.”

Over in the UK, Madame Tussauds has announced its intention to remove West’s statue from its wax museum in London. In a statement shared with the BBC, a representative for the Merlin Entertainments-owned exhibit said: “Ye’s figure has been retired from the attraction floor to our archive. Each profile earns their place at Madame Tussauds London and we listen to our guests and the public on who they expect to see at the attraction.”

The news follows word from earlier this week that Jaylen Brown (forward for the Boston Celtics) and Aaron Donald (defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams) had both exited West’s athletic agency, Donda Sports.

West’s current ream of controversies stemmed from a stunt at this year’s Paris Fashion Week, where West wore a shirt emblazoned with the white nationalist dogwhistle “White Lives Matter”. He was heavily criticised for the tone-deaf move, leading the rapper to double, triple and quadruple down on his viewpoint. In the process – publicly responding to a call-out from Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs – West made an antisemitic comment on Instagram, after which he was booted from the platform.

He then took to Twitter, where he too made an antisemitic comment and was swiftly banned. His antisemitism was loudly condemned by a slew of celebrities, politicians and organisations, including Jack Antonoff, John Legend, Elon Musk, David Schwimmer, KISS’ Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, Howard Stern, Eric André and his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian.

After being kicked off from Instagram and Twitter, it was reported that West made an agreement to purchase “free speech” platform Parler. One mainstream company that refuses to deplatform the rapper is Spotify; CEO Daniel Ek said this week that because West’s music itself doesn’t violate Spotify’s anti-hate policies, it would not be removed from its streaming service.

Also this month, it was reported that an episode of LeBron James’ talk show, The Shop, would not air a filmed interview with West after he spouted more antisemitism during the taping. Around the same time, Vice leaked unaired footage from West’s Fox News interview, where he also made racist and antisemitic comments; the station has publicly rescinded its support for the rapper.

West was, however, given further airtime on the Drinks Champ podcast, where he made inflammatory comments on the death of George Floyd, hit out at rival Pete Davidson and claimed that Ice Cube influenced his antisemitism (a claim Ice Cube has denied). The interview was later scrubbed from the web, and host N.O.R.E. expressed “regret” over his complacency in the situation. In the wake of that interview, Floyd’s family began preparing a defamation lawsuit against West.

In another TV interview, West said he didn’t believe in the term “antisemitism”. Speaking to Piers Morgan (who he referred to as “a Karen”), he said he knew his antisemitic comments were racist, explained why he was “jealous” of Jewish culture, and claimed that Quentin Tarantino stole West’s idea for Django Unchained.

West’s comments have also led to real-world cases of abuse against Jewish communities. Last weekend, for example, neo-Nazi groups in Los Angeles hung a banner reading “Kanye is right about the Jews” over a freeway.

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