Sports giant Adidas will launch an independent investigation into allegations of misconduct made this week against US rapper and fashion designer Kanye West, including that he showed employees pornography at company meetings.
Claims by unidentified Yeezy and Adidas employees, which appeared in a Rolling Stone article on Tuesday, included allegations that the musician, who changed his name to Ye, showed an intimate picture of his ex-wife Kim Kardashian during job interviews. and that his “problem behavior” was overlooked by Adidas management.
Allegations by employees in a letter to Adidas obtained by the portal included claims that Adidas had “turned off its moral compass” and failed to protect employees from “years of verbal abuse, profanity-laced tirades and bullying attacks”.
Adidas said in a statement Thursday that it is “currently unclear whether the allegations made in the anonymous letter are true” but that it takes the allegations “very seriously” and “has taken the decision to immediately launch an independent investigation into this matter.” to deal with the allegations”.
The sportswear brand initially said it “will not discuss the private conversations, details or events leading up to our decision to end the Adidas Yeezy partnership,” but “it has been and will continue to be.”[d] to actively engage in conversations with our employees about the events that led to our decision to end the partnership”.
In one alleged incident in 2017, Ye yelled at a senior member of the design team that a Yeezy sneaker was substandard. West allegedly looked down at his foot and up at the employee and said, “I want you to make me a shoe that I can fuck with.
Analysts estimate that the Yeezy partnership accounts for 7% of the group’s revenue. Adidas said it believes the loss of Yeezy will cut expected profits in half this year. It is not yet clear whether Adidas will continue to sell the company-owned designs without the Yeezy logo, which it does not have.
The decision to launch an investigation comes after one of Adidas’ biggest shareholders, Union Investment, demanded clarification on the alleged incidents. Last month, Adidas pulled out of a licensing and design deal with Ye after he made anti-Semitic threats.
Janne Werning, head of ESG capital markets and stewardship at Union Investment, which holds a 1% stake in Adidas, told the Financial Times: “Adidas must disclose when management and the supervisory board were first informed of the internal allegations.”