10 celebrity ambassadors who got dropped by big-name brands: Ye lost Adidas and Gap after his controversial remarks, Disney dropped Johnny Depp, and Kate Moss got cut off by Chanel in her party days

  • Ye, aka Kanye West, was recently dropped by Adidas and Gap after his anti-Semitic remarks – but he’s not the only celebrity to lose out on big endorsements
  • Korean actress Seo Ye-ji was cut off by Luna when reports claimed she barred then-boyfriend Kim Jung-hyun from doing romance scenes with his Time co-star, Seohyun
Tiger Woods, Kate Moss, Kanye West aka Ye, Seo Ye-ji and Johnny Depp were all dropped by brands at some point. Photos: AP, @katemossphoto/Instagram, AFP, @Yejisdoormat/Twitter

 Tiger Woods, Kate Moss, Kanye West aka Ye, Seo Ye-ji and Johnny Depp were all dropped by brands at some point. Photos: AP, @katemossphoto/Instagram, AFP, @Yejisdoormat/Twitter

Many celebrities earn their wealth through their respective professions, but we all know that even bigger bucks often come from lucrative endorsement deals. It’s therefore expected that the celebrity in question stay on their best behaviour – especially when being paid so much to represent a brand that wants to maintain a good image.

Kanye West’s outspoken comments proved too much for Adidas. Photo: Getty Images

Kanye West’s outspoken comments proved too much for Adidas. Photo: Getty Images

But what happens when it all goes wrong? As we’ve seen with Ye’s, formerly Kanye West’s, recent anti-Semitic remarks and the subsequent public outrage, it’s up to brands to decide how they handle such partnerships going forward. For Ye, the consequence has been a ruthless slashing of his net worth after Adidas, Gap and others severed legally-binding ties with the controversial rapper.

But which other celebrities have been cut off by brands over the years and … why?

1. Kate Moss

H&M, Burberry and Chanel all withdrew from campaigns with Kate Moss after controversial photos of her emerged in the press. Photo: Reuters

H&M, Burberry and Chanel all withdrew from campaigns with Kate Moss after controversial photos of her emerged in the press. Photo: Reuters

Now 48, the iconic British supermodel suffered a major blip in her life with reported drug abuse during the early 2000s.

British model Kate Moss’ party girl lifestyle became too much for the brands who worked with her back in 2005. Photo: Reuters

British model Kate Moss’ party girl lifestyle became too much for the brands who worked with her back in 2005. Photo: Reuters

Moss’ then party-girl lifestyle went too far for the luxury brands she was representing when she was snapped snorting cocaine in 2005. As a result, her long-time partnerships with Burberry and Chanel ended amid the scandal, a week after H&M had backed away from using the model in their latest campaign, per Today.

3. Seo Ye-ji

Seo Ye-ji was dropped by several brands after her controlling behaviour came to light. Photo: Netflix

Seo Ye-ji was dropped by several brands after her controlling behaviour came to light. Photo: Netflix

The 32-year-old It’s Okay Not to be Okay K-drama actress found herself embroiled in scandal last year when she reportedly barred her then-boyfriend – Kim Jung-hyun of Crash Landing on You fame – from doing romance scenes with his Time co-star, Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun.

Although her agency denied the claims, the drama was all too much for her big-name endorsers, with Inner Flora, Aer and Rieti all scrubbing photos and videos of the star from their respective websites. Cosmetics brand Luna cut ties with her too.

4. Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova tested positive for a controlled drug that had previously been allowed – and lost several brand deals as a result. Photo: @sugarpova/Instagram

Maria Sharapova tested positive for a controlled drug that had previously been allowed – and lost several brand deals as a result. Photo: @sugarpova/Instagram

Tennis’ former world No 1 Maria Sharapova’s career took an unexpected turn when she failed a drug test in 2016 and was suspended from the game for using meldonium. According to The New York Times, the athlete had been using the newly banned drug for years to cope with magnesium deficiency and dizziness.

Regardless of her reasons though, Nike and Porsche were quick to cut off their partnerships with the star, and Tag Heuer suspended negotiations to extend her contract as well, according to NPR.

5. Aamir Khan

Fans were quick to criticise Aamir Khan for his off-the-cuff remarks and film choices. Photo: @amirkhanactor__/Instagram

Fans were quick to criticise Aamir Khan for his off-the-cuff remarks and film choices. Photo: @amirkhanactor__/Instagram

The Bollywood veteran, 57, is no stranger to controversy. Netizens have recently boycotted his movies, accusing him of “mocking Hindu traditions”, reported Mens XP.

6. Sharon Stone

Sharon Stone’s remarks about the 2008 Sichuan earthquake led Dior to drop her from their Chinese ads. Photo: Film Magic

Sharon Stone’s remarks about the 2008 Sichuan earthquake led Dior to drop her from their Chinese ads. Photo: Film Magic

Back in 2008, the Basic Instinct actress found herself in hot water when she made comments suggesting that the devastating earthquake in southwest China was “bad karma” for Beijing’s occupation of Tibet, according to The Guardian. The earthquake killed over 68,000 people.

Although she apologised for her tone-deaf remarks, it’s no surprise that Christian Dior dropped Stone, now 64, from its Chinese advertisements.

7. Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods was given the cold shoulder by the likes of AT&T and Gillette after it was revealed he’d been cheating on his wife with several other women. Photo: Reuters

Tiger Woods was given the cold shoulder by the likes of AT&T and Gillette after it was revealed he’d been cheating on his wife with several other women. Photo: Reuter

Tiger Woods was at the top of his game until he was exposed in 2009 for cheating on his Swedish wife, former model Elin Nordegren, with at least 15 women – with the New York Post even stating that he confessed to sleeping with over 120 women.

In the wake of the golf pro’s scandal, Woods lost a huge chunk of his fortune as sponsors pulled out. Brands that exited partnerships with the American star, now 46, included Gatorade, Gillette, AT&T and Accenture.

8. Kathy Griffin

Comedian Kathy Griffin’s Donald Trump gag was apparently in such poor taste that Squatty Potty and others abandoned her. Photo: AP

 Comedian Kathy Griffin’s Donald Trump gag was apparently in such poor taste that Squatty Potty and others abandoned her. Photo: AP

The 62-year-old American comedian and actress was recently banned from Twitter – along with plenty of others – for impersonating Elon Musk, reported The Guardian. Before that, she, like many celebrities, publicly mocked former US president Donald Trump.

However, Griffin took things a bit too far when she shared a photo of herself with a bloody replica of Trump’s decapitated head in 2017, per People. The grisly image led to her losing an endorsement gig with Squatty Potty. She was also fired from her role as New Year’s Eve host for CNN that year, and 25 theatres cancelled her upcoming stand-up shows as a result of the backlash, reported People.

9. Kris Wu

Kris Wu used was one of China’s biggest stars before his arrest in 2021, and nothing has been heard of him since. Photo: Facebook

Kris Wu used was one of China’s biggest stars before his arrest in 2021, and nothing has been heard of him since. Photo: Facebook

The 32-year-old Canadian-Chinese rapper and former member of Exo was arrested for sexual assault in 2021, marking one of the most explosive scandals in the history of China’s entertainment scene. It all started when teenage beauty influencer Du Meizhu accused Wu of preying on underage girls on the Chinese social media platform Weibo, and accusing him of taking advantage of her when she was drunk, leading Louis Vuitton, Bulgari and Porsche to immediately drop partnerships with the disgraced star.

10. Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp’s career came under fire earlier this year. Photo: @johnny.deep.fan/Instagram

Johnny Depp’s career came under fire earlier this year. Photo: @johnny.deep.fan/Instagram

When Depp’s ex-wife Amber Heard wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post calling herself a “public figure representing domestic abuse”, all eyes turned to the Edward Scissorhands star, with the media demanding answers to Heard’s allegations.

The accusations caused Disney to drop the actor from its multibillion-dollar Pirates of the Caribbean franchise just four days after the op-ed was released in 2018. And, of course, it led to Depp’s highly publicised defamation lawsuit against the Aquaman actress, which he later won. However, Dior, a long-time collaborator of his, chose not to cut him off as a partner throughout the legal battle.

About the author

Kwame Anane