Speedo USA announced Monday that it will be ending its sponsorship with Ryan Lochte, a relationship that has lasted for at least 10 years. The news follows the Olympian's apology on social media last week for lying about being held at gunpoint in a robbery in Rio. Mr. Lochte continued running damage control over the weekend in a televised interview with "Today" host Matt Lauer on Saturday, when he admitted that his "immature" behavior had tarnished the American brand.
Speedo, which is owned by PVH Corp., plans to donate $50,000 of Mr. Lochte's fee to nonprofit Save The Children.
"While we have enjoyed a winning relationship with Ryan for over a decade and he has been an important member of the Speedo team, we cannot condone behavior that is counter to values this brand has long stood for," Speedo, which is owned by PVH Corp., said in a statement. "We appreciate his many achievements and hope he moves forward and learns from his experience."
Similarly, a spokeswoman from Ralph Lauren said in a statement that the brand "continues to proudly sponsor the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team and the values that its athletes embody. Ralph Lauren's endorsement agreement with Ryan Lochte was specifically in support of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the company will not be renewing his contract." The company has already removed Mr. Lochte's image from its website.
Mr. Lochte also had an endorsement deal with Japanese mattress manufacturer Airweave. Last week, Airweave said Mr. Lochte would remain a brand ambassador, with founder and CEO Motokuni Takaoka saying, "I respect the athletic performance of Ryan, and as long as he is a respectable athlete, he will remain the U.S. ambassador for Airweave as long as our partnership agreement remains effective. We are focused on supporting Team USA and our support to them will remain the same."
But on Monday the company said it was ending its partnership with the embattled U.S. swimmer. "Our endorsement agreement with Ryan Lochte was in suport of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. After careful consideration, we have made the decision to end our partnership with Ryan Lochte," the company said in a statement released via Twitter.
Mr Lochte's fourth and final sponsor, Gentle Hair Removal, issued a statement via its parent company Syneron Candela on Monday that it was ending its relationship with the Olympian, according to ESPN.
A sports marketing executive recently told Ad Age that Mr. Lochte could be "radioactive" for marketers given the controversy surrounding his recent behavior.