By ELISABETH GARBER-PAUL, Rolling Stone
25th November 2022 – (New York) ADIDAS will launch a probe into allegations that Kanye West played pornography to employees, according to the company. The investigation into the rapper, which was first reported by the Financial Times, comes two days after a scathing article from Rolling Stone found that the problematic mogul showed pornography to perspective and existing employees at his fashion company Yeezy, which is owned by Adidas. Reporting found that West, who now goes by Ye, showed an intimate picture of his then-wife, Kim Kardashian, to a perspective collaborator, as well as an explicit video of her to employees. West is alleged to have told multiple people that he wanted to make “a shoe I can fuck”: “I literally want to fuck my shoes,” one former employee recalls him saying. “That’s how good they are.”
In addition to interviews with more than two dozen former employees of Adidas and Yeezy, Rolling Stone exclusively obtained a copy of a letter sent by several employees to executives at Adidas, including the company’s new CEO. The letter — titled, “The Truth About Yeezy: A Call to Action for Adidas Leadership” — alleges that West used forced discomfort to create a culture of fear and intimidation, including “years of verbal abuse, vulgar tirades, and bullying attacks.” They claim that the blame lays not just on West, but on executives at Adidas who, they say, were well aware of his tactics.
“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 reads.
A spokesperson for Adidas confirmed the investigation in a statement to Rolling Stone. “It is currently not clear whether the accusations made in an anonymous letter are true,” they wrote. “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.”
Adidas had already ended their relationship with West, following a series of antisemitic tweets and flippantly racist statements, like the notorious White Lives Matter T-shirt at Paris Fashion Week. But, according to the Times, after Rolling Stone published the damning allegations, Union Investment — a German firm that owns stake in Adidas — asked the sportswear company for answers, and the investigation was launched.
“Adidas needs to disclose when the management and the supervisory board was first informed about the internal allegations,” said Janne Werning, an executive at Union Investment, according to the Financial Times.