Adidas has launched an investigation into Kanye West's (pictured right) reportedly inappropriate behaviour while both parties were working together to develop the Yeezy sneaker line. The sports brand reportedly received an anonymous letter alleging "years of misconduct in the workplace" by West, who now goes by Ye. The letter also alleged that adidas management "turned a blind eye" to Ye's behaviour, The Wall Street Journal said.
This comes week after adidas put its partnership with Ye under review in early October even after repeated efforts to privately resolve the issue. Ye had reportedly watched porn in meetings and during office hours and also showed it to employees, WSJ said.
Employees had apparently brought up concerns about Ye's behaviour to HR and senior leaders over the years, WSJ said. It added that staff knew they had to tolerate Ye's behaviour in order to stay on the Yeezy team.
"Adidas does not tolerate hate speech and offensive behaviour and therefore has terminated the adidas Yeezy partnership. We have been and continue to be actively engaged in conversations with our employees about the events that lead to our decision to end the partnership. They have our full support and as we’re working through the details of the termination," the spokesperson told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE.
"It is currently not clear whether the accusations made in an anonymous letter are true. 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 spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, Rolling Stone published an expose last week exposé last week about Ye "exploding at women with offensive remarks". Sexually disturbing references were also used by him when offering design feedback. For example, Ye said to a potential designer interviewing for a job that the team creates "products of passion" and that he "literally wants to f*ck [his] shoes".
Ye also allegedly made a young designer sit on the floor "for hours" during a meeting following a disagreement. Rolling Stone also reported that Ye showed employees intimate photos of his wife Kim Kardashian. Some employees also moved out of the team after being yelled at by Ye. According to Rolling Stone, Ye's behaviour was allowed to continue because Yeezy was expected to bring in up to US$2 billion in annual revenue.
Launched in 2015, Yeezy currently forms approximately 8% of adidas' overall revenue.
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