When Adidas severed its contract and ties with Yeezy in October, the anti-semitic views expressed by Kanye West, now known as Ye, was not the first time the musician and entrepreneur’s behaviour caused offence.
An open letter written by several employees addressed to Adidas’ CEO and management titled, “The Truth About Yeezy: A Call to Action for Adidas Leadership,” claim West used uncomfortable language and behaviour created a culture of fear and intimidation, including “years of verbal abuse, vulgar tirades, and bullying attacks.”
The letter stated “the most troubling behaviour that should have been flagged by the executive team very early in the partnership is his manipulative and fear-based approach to leading the team, all while trying to assert dominance over Adidas employees in closed rooms.”
The investigation was launched after Rolling Stone published a report, which included Mr West showing pornography to employees, sharing nude photos of then partner Kim Kardashian, and other incidents of inappropriate behaviour. One incident was caught on video and shown on YouTube.
Prior to officially announcing the end of its partnership with Yeezy on October 25th, Adidas did little to scrutinise situations to protects its employees. The letter alludes to a ‘business as usual’ reponse from Adidas management.
“If there was any case to defend the executive team’s inadequate action, aside from being beholden to shareholders, it appeared as if they simply didn’t know what to do or say in those jarring moments, or how to handle Kanye without further triggering him, or act in a way that didn’t jeopardize their position or the partnership. So instead, the board members and the executive team turned their moral compass off by ignoring both Kanye’s inflammatory public behavior and the Yeezy team’s complaints regarding troubling partner dynamics,” the open letter stated, as published by Rolling Stone.
Adidas confirms investigation
“It is currently not clear whether the accusations made in an anonymous letter are true,” Adidas responded in a statement on Thursday. “However, we take these allegations very seriously and have taken the decision to launch an independent investigation of the matter immediately to address the allegations.”
The Financial Times said Adidas confirmed the probe after one of its largest shareholders, Union Investment, demanded clarity about the alleged incidents.
Article source: Rolling Stone, Financial Times, Quartz