Adidas is opening an investigation into allegations that the brand purposefully ignored misconduct claims made against former collaborator Kanye West.
“It is currently not clear whether the accusations made in an anonymous letter are true,” the brand wrote in a Friday, November 25, statement to Us Weekly. “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.”
Rolling Stone reported earlier this month that members of the athletic brand’s board had overlooked claims that West, 45, had been verbally abusive toward employees. In the magazine’s exposé, multiple former Yeezy employees penned an open letter to Adidas, accusing West of bullying, repeatedly playing porn and sharing explicit images — including snaps of ex-wife Kim Kardashian — during business meetings. The “Famous” rapper has yet to publicly address the allegations.
“It was very revealing and personal. I didn’t really react,” one former staffer anonymously told Rolling Stone in the article. Another added: “He’s like, ‘What do you think of it?’ Not laughing at all.”
The “Stronger” rapper inked a partnership with Adidas in 2013 to sell merchandise from his Yeezy clothing line, including his popular sneakers. The footwear brand announced last month that they had severed their brand deal in light of West’s antisemitism controversy.
“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” Adidas said in an October 25 statement. “Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”
The statement concluded: “After a thorough review, the company has taken the decision to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies. Adidas will stop the Adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect.”
West made headlines earlier in October after he shared several antisemitic messages on Instagram and Twitter, posting conspiracy theories and revealing that he wanted to go “death con 3” on Jewish people.
“I will say I’m sorry for the people that I hurt with the ‘death con’ [comments],” West later apologized during an October 19 appearance on Piers Morgan Uncensored. “I feel like I caused hurt and confusion. And I’m sorry for the families of the people that had nothing to do with the trauma that I had been through, and that I used my platform where you say hurt people hurt people. I was hurt.”
While the Yeezy designer has continued to defend his actions, he’s lost million-dollar brand deals. Balenciaga, Gap, Vogue magazine and CAA (Creative Arts Agency) have all cut ties with the rapper, in addition to Adidas. Instagram and Twitter also both temporarily banned his accounts multiple times, though Elon Musk — who recently purchased Twitter — has since reactivated West’s account.
In October, shortly before Adidas announced the end of their longtime partnership, the company noted that they were reviewing the collaboration. West, for his part, was publicly upset about the news.
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“F–K ADIDAS. ADIDAS RAPED AND STOLE MY DESIGNS,” the Grammy Award winner claimed in a since-deleted Instagram post at the time.
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