Hip hop mogul Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has begun trying to repair some of the damage caused by his recent antisemitic comments.
At the very end of an extensive and sometimes rambling interview with Jewish podcast host Lex Fridman, Ye said he recognizes that God did not call for him to alienate or hurt people, and he wanted "to give a sincere apology to the Jewish people."
"Causing people to hurt is not helping," he admitted.
"So before God, what I would do is start off, as a samurai, and say I'm sorry for hurting you as a Jewish person. I'm sorry for the way I made you feel. And I'm sorry for the entire population of a race that I feel is actually my brothers because I classify and feel that I'm also connected with Christ in that way," he said.
This Portion of the Interview Includes Part of His Apology (Language Alert):
Meanwhile, authorities are investigating pro-Kanye antisemitic banners that were hung along a Los Angeles highway – the latest offenses in a surge of hate crimes against Jews. The signs were hung on a bridge over the 405 freeway – one of the city's busiest highways.
The signs read: "Honk if you know Kanye is right about the Jews." A photo also captured a group of supporters giving the Nazi salute.
It was inspired by West repeating antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories in interviews. West, who now goes by "Ye," also tweeted, he's going "death con 3" on Jewish people.
On Tuesday morning, Adidas announced it's ending its partnership with the rapper over his offensive and antisemitic remarks. The German sportswear company said the decision would hurt its bottom line, but “Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech."
Adidas said it expected that cutting ties with Ye would lead to losses of up to 250 million euros ($246 million) to its net income this year.
“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 company stated.
In Germany, where Adidas is headquartered, the head of the country’s main Jewish group welcomed the announcement but said it “was overdue.”
“I would have liked a clear stance earlier from a German company that also was entangled with the Nazi regime,” Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement. “Adidas has done a lot to distance itself from its past and, like many sports brands, is one of those companies that conduct big campaigns against antisemitism and racism. That’s why an earlier separation from Kanye West would have been appropriate.”
West was also suspended from Twitter and Instagram over the antisemitic posts. He has since been reinstated on Instagram.
Ye also was criticized for wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt to his Yeezy collection show in Paris.
Not long after the antisemitic banner was posted by Kanye supporters in Los Angeles, leaflets blaming the Jewish people for COVID appeared in parts of Beverly Hills.
All this comes as antisemitism is increasing in America. Incidents hit an all-time high in 2021, with more than 2,700 cases of assault, harassment, and vandalism – a 34 percent increase from 2020.