DIVIDED OPINIONS: A$AP Rocky is at ease in the fashion crowd, thanks to a series of collaborations, modeling and front-row appearances through the years.
The Grammy winner, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, pleaded not guilty to assault charges at the first day of his trial in Sweden on Tuesday, claiming that he acted in self-defense in a June 30 altercation in Stockholm. He has been held in Sweden since July 3 after being arrested along with two members of his entourage. The musician has reportedly been accused of punching, kicking and hitting the plaintiff, Mustafa Jafari, with a bottle.
His arrest has led to political sparring, with President Trump calling for his release through a few different medium since a phone call to Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven last week. That appeal did not win points with Swedish politicians. Earlier this week Sweden’s former Prime Minister Carl Bildt tweeted his Washington Post op-ed that noted, “I was Sweden’s prime minister and no, Mr. Trump, I could not have freed A$AP Rocky either.”
Robert C. O’Brien, U.S. special presidential envoy for Hostage Affairs, traveled to Stockholm to attend the trial, reportedly at Trump’s request.
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In his own defense, a video of A$AP Rocky being trailed by two men, whom he and members of his entourage repeatedly ask to stop following them, was posted on his Instagram. The preliminary investigation reportedly resulted in 500 pages of court documents, some of which were shown in the courtroom on Tuesday. Surveillance and video footage is also expected to be presented by the prosecution.
The 30-year-old rapper was one of three in his entourage who was arrested. His bodyguard was later released. As of Tuesday afternoon, nearly 640,000 people had signed Change.org’s #JusticeForRocky petition, requesting his release from Swedish officials. If convicted, the musician could face a maximum sentence of two years in jail.
In the midst of this court battle, various brands that A$AP Rocky has worked with or supported either spoke out or appeared to distance themselves from him. Calvin Klein, though, is very much standing behind the Grammy winner. A company spokeswoman said on Monday, “A$AP Rocky is a part of the Calvin Klein family. It is our strong hope that Rocky will be given swift access to a fair trial and that he and the two other members of his team, who are also being detained are able to return home soon.”
The short video of A$AP Rocky modeling Calvin Klein on the company’s site remains intact. In addition to Calvin Klein, the musician modeled outerwear for Templa’s collaboration with Raf Simons. One of Templa’s three partners, Anati Rakocz, declined to comment Tuesday.
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The musician has collaborated with Adidas in the past on such products as Adidas JS Wings Asap Rocky Black Flag shoes. The altercation in Stockholm occurred behind an Adidas store there. Regarding Rocky’s situation, an Adidas spokeswoman said, “It is our policy not to comment on pending legal matters.”
Although representatives for Artica Arbox recently sent press material featuring a photo of the rapper front row with Cristiano Minchio, executives at the company declined to comment on his current situation. A spokesman for the brand said Friday that neither she nor designer Irene Roth were available to comment. He did not acknowledge a follow-up request for comment. The hip-hop artist stopped by the Artica Arbox dinner in Paris to support his friend Roth in launching her men’s line.
In addition, executives at Selfridges declined comment. In 2017, the retailer partnered with the musician for a limited-edition AWGE bodega in the basement of its London flagship. Representatives for Simons and Jeremy Scott also did not acknowledge requests for comment.
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