It has been reported that the chief executive and other senior figures at fashion brand Adidas discussed a potential fallout from its relationship with rapper Kanye West as far back as four years ago.
Last week, an open letter from staff members at Adidas and West’s brand, Yeezy, accused the rapper of using “mind games” and pornography to manipulate them. They said this created a “toxic and chaotic” working environment.
The letter was sent to Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted, and it contained accounts from staff members who held a range of positions at both companies. In it, West was also accused of “years of verbal abuse, vulgar tirades, and bullying attacks”. The executives at Adidas were also alleged to have turned a blind eye to his behaviour.
Responding to the furore last Thursday, Adidas said in a statement: “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.”
Now, in a new report from The Wall Street Journal, it has been claimed that a group of Adidas staffers outlined the risk the company faced by working with West during a presentation to their executive board in 2018. It is also alleged that the presentation featured a handful of mitigation strategies, which included severing ties with the rapper, which they did in late October following a string of anti-Semitic remarks.
The publication claimed that the group contained Rorsted and the head of human resources. However, per the report, Adidas did not cut ties with the rapper, who they had a partnership with since 2013, as they wanted to maintain the partnership. It is claimed that the company profited $2 billion per annum through working with West.