Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

Sportswear giant Adidas will launch an independent investigation into misconduct allegations made this week against US rapper and fashion designer Kanye West, including that he showed pornography to staff at company meetings.

The claims by unidentified employees of Yeezy and Adidas, which appeared in a Rolling Stone article on Tuesday, included allegations that the musician, who has changed his name to Ye, showed an intimate picture of his ex-wife Kim Kardashian during job interviews. , and that his “problematic behavior” was overlooked by Adidas management.

Allegations from staff included in a letter to Adidas obtained by the outlet include claims that Adidas “turned off its moral compass” and failed to protect employees from “years of verbal abuse, vulgar tirades and bullying attacks”.

Adidas said in a statement Thursday that it was “currently unclear whether the allegations made in the anonymous letter are true” but that it took the allegations “very seriously” and “has made the decision to immediately launch an independent investigation into the matter.” to resolve the charges”.

The sportswear brand initially said it would not “discuss the private conversations, details or events that led to our decision to end our partnership with Adidas Yeezy,” but it “has been and continues to be[d] to actively participate in discussions with our employees about the events that led to our decision to terminate the partnership”.

In one alleged incident in 2017, Ye shouted at a senior female member of the design team that Yeezy sneakers were not up to standards. 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.”

Analysts estimate that the Yeezy partnership accounts for 7% of the group’s revenue. Adidas said it believes the Yeezy loss will cut expected profits in half this year. It is not yet clear whether Adidas will continue to sell the designs, which the company owns, without Yeezy’s logo, which is absent.

The decision to launch an investigation comes after one of Adidas’ largest shareholders, Union Investment, demanded clarification of the alleged incidents. Last month, Adidas pulled out of a licensing and design deal with Yeo after he made anti-Semitic threats.

Janne Werning, head of ESG capital markets and governance 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.”