Adidas Investigating Big Allegations Against Kanye West

Former employees allege bullying, mind games, vulgarity
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2022 5:05 AM CST
Adidas Probes Kanye West Misconduct Allegations
Kanye West speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House with then-President Donald Trump, Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Adidas tolerated a lot of disturbing and deeply inappropriate behavior from Kanye West before it decided to cut its ties with him over his antisemitic remarks, according to former employees. The company says it is investigating allegations that employees involved with West's Yeezy line of sneakers endured "years of verbal abuse, vulgar tirades, and bullying attacks" after managers turned off their "moral compass" and failed to protect them, the Financial Times reports. According to a report in Rolling Stone this week citing more two dozen former Adidas and Yeezy staffers, West used bullying and "mind games" to control people and showed employees pornography—some of it home-made. The former employees said West displayed explicit photos and videos of ex-wife Kim Kardashian.

A letter from former employees to Adidas board members this week urged them to look into "the toxic and chaotic environment that Kanye West created" and his "very sick pattern of predacious behavior toward women." "The most troubling behavior 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 letter states. During the Yeezy partnership, West sometimes "exploded at women in the room with offensive remarks, and would resort to sexually disturbing references when providing design feedback," according to the letter.

"It is currently not clear whether the accusations made in an anonymous letter are true," an Adidas spokesperson told Rolling Stone. "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 FT reports that the company announced the investigation after one of its largest shareholders demanded clarity about the allegations. (Read more Kanye West stories.)

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