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Dropping Kanye West Not As Easy As People Might Think


President Trump Hosts Kanye West And Former Football Player Jim Brown At The White House

(Photo by Oliver Contreras – Pool/Getty Images)

One strain of seemingly-contrarian-but-really-conventional wisdom stubbornly insisting upon real estate in my social media feed is the idea that corporate brands don’t deserve credit for ditching Ye in the wake of his antisemitic and racist rhetoric. As the detractors put it, these companies don’t deserve any credit for belatedly doing the bare minimum to protect their financial interests.

But this hot take never sat well with my lawyer brain. High-value branding relationships aren’t handshake deals. These contracts devote a lot of ink to preventing either side from walking away willy-nilly. Perhaps these companies successfully negotiated the power to cut ties on multimillion-dollar deals based on their unilateral assessment of a morality breach, but it’s far more likely that there are a lot of checks that need to be marked before the company can feel secure that it’s not committing its own breach when it drops someone.

And as Zuva.ai CEO Noah Waisberg points out, Ye might actually have extremely generous deals binding companies to him.

This is the sort of clause I suspected might plague a lot of his sponsors. Any suspected breach requires written notice and waiting 30 days to give Ye the opportunity to cure whatever the breach might be.

So for all of the people out there tut-tutting companies for taking a whole week to announce that they’ve parted ways with this guy, consider holding off for a few more weeks. If a slew of brands declare a marketing divorce exactly 30 days after Ye’s shenanigans came out, consider that those brands might actually have moved faster than anyone else to get rid of him.

Even Kim took her sweet time severing his ties to her brand.


HeadshotJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.





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