Adidas investigates claims Kanye West assaulted employees

Adidas investigates claims Kanye West assaulted employees

Adidas AG is investigating allegations that rapper Ye was allowed to behave inappropriately towards employees of the German sneaker chain.

The sportswear group ended its lucrative design partnership with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, in late October after he made a series of anti-Semitic and racist remarks. Since then, allegations have mounted about the rapper’s erratic behavior and treatment of designers and other employees of Adidas, whose partnership with Ye was once one of the most successful in the industry’s history.

An article inside Rolling stone magazine, citing former employees who spoke anonymously, detailed alleged incidents of inappropriate behavior towards employees and potential employees by Ye. According to the magazine, former Adidas employees sent an anonymous letter to the company claiming senior managers knew about Ye’s problematic attitude but had “turned off their moral compass” and failed to protect employees.

“It is currently not clear whether the allegations in an anonymous letter are true,” said an Adidas spokesperson. “However, we take these allegations very seriously and have made the decision to immediately launch an independent investigation into the matter to address the allegations.”

You were not immediately available for comment. News of the investigation was first revealed by the Financial times.

Adidas is also facing questions from one of its largest shareholders, Union Investment, who wrote to the sneaker company on Thursday asking for more information about the claims.

“Adidas must disclose when the board and supervisory board were first made aware of these internal allegations,” said Janne Werning, head of Union Investment’s Capital Markets and Stewardship.

The controversy over Ye has squeezed Adidas’ revenues by as much as €250 million for the year and exacerbated other problems the group was already facing. Earlier this month, Adidas appointed Bjorn Gulden, the former CEO of rival Puma SE, as CEO. He will start in January and try to help the company recover from a slew of challenges, including in China, once Adidas’ biggest growth engine, where sales have fallen due to consumer boycotts of Western brands.

By Tim Loh and Deirdre Hipwell

Learn more:

Inside Adidas’ Yeezy Dilemma

The German sportswear giant’s partnership with Ye generated $1.7 billion in 2021, accounting for nearly 7 percent of its annual revenue. Now that the company has cut ties with the rapper, will the company continue to sell Yeezy designs?

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