Why Kanye West Has Suddenly Lost His Billionaire Status

Forbes has dropped Kanye West from its billionaire list after the latter's deal with Adidas was terminated.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

In just two weeks, Kanye West lost his talent representation, connections to major fashion houses like Balenciaga and Gap, as well as other lucrative relationships. And now, the rapper has lost his billionaire status as sports brand Adidas ended its estimated $250 million partnership with him. The company cut ties with the 45-year-old over his recent anti-Semitic comments and wearing a shirt with a slogan linked to the Ku Klux Klan.

Earlier this week, Forbes, one of the leading trackers of wealth among the world’s financial elite, said it had dropped Kanye West from its billionaire list. This is because the publication estimated the Adidas deal accounted for $1.5 billion of the rapper’s net worth. It is now thought to be a mere $400 million which comes from real estate, cash, his music catalog, and a 5% stake in ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s shape-wear firm, Skims.

While helping to make Kanye West a billionaire, the singer’s years-long partnership with the German sportswear giant brought his Yeezy-branded sneakers to a global audience. But following growing pressure to stop working with him, Adidas announced that it does not tolerate anti-Semitism or other types of hate speech, calling the 45-year-old’s comments unacceptable.

“Ye’s recent comments and actions have been hateful and dangerous,” the sports brand said in a statement. “And they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.” As a result, Adidas will no longer produce Yeezy products and stop payments to Kanye West and his companies. The attention also renewed scrutiny on the history of the German outfit.

According to NPR, brothers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler had been members of the Nazi party. And toward the end of World War II, their shoe factory became a munitions plant for the war effort. The siblings started manufacturing footwear (much like the company did for Kanye West) in Bavaria during the 1920s. But they earned international fame after the 1936 Olympics, where legendary U.S. sprinter Jesse Owens won four gold medals wearing a pair of their track spikes.

The removal of Kanye West from Forbes’ billionaire list caps off a long saga between the rapper and the publication as the 45-year-old always felt his net worth was undervalued. When he first made the list in 2020, with an estimated $1 billion fortune, the singer wasn’t happy. He even sent the editors a text saying his net worth was $3.3 billion, “since no one at Forbes knows how to count.” This pattern continued every year, with West continuing to complain about his numbers, Forbes says.

Meanwhile, Kanye West is still going forward with his acquisition of Parler. The controversial right-wing social media platform announced the acquisition in a press release, saying it entered into an agreement with the rapper in principle that’s expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2022. The platform, which calls itself a free speech alternative to mainstream sites, recently resurfaced after being removed from various app stores for allowing posts that seek to incite violence in the country.