Adidas is investigating claims into allegations that Kanye West showed pornography to staff on a regular basis. West has been accused of raging misconduct including “disturbing,” “bullying,” antics and abusive “mind games.” An anonymous open letter to Adidas, first reported by Rolling Stone, has opened a new can of worms one month after the company cut ties with Kanye West.
Videos by Rare
Adidas Dropped Ties With Kanye West, Yeezy Brand, After Numerous Racist and Anti-Semitic Remarks Last Month
Last month, Kanye West (who legally changed his name to “Ye”) went on a weeks-long tirade that led to him being largely “canceled.” He was making racist and antisemitic comments and, when called out, kept doubling down. West was accused of enabling white supremacy and openly engaging in Holocaust denial.
He was subsequently dropped by many of his business associates, including his attorneys. Adidas was one of the professional ties that were cut. However, the move wasn’t made until after their stocks started to plummet.
Anonymous Letter Is Urging Adidas to Take Accountability for Toxic Work Atmosphere
Now, an anonymous letter written by former staff members of Yeezy is asking Adidas to take accountability for “the toxic and chaotic environment that Kanye West created.” It alleges that West took part in “a very sick pattern of predacious behavior toward women” that was swept under the rug. It was made to seem normal, and employees were primed to endure the abuse or removed from their positions. Potential employees were exposed to these behaviors at all as if they were being vetted.
West allegedly repeatedly referred to his shoes needing to be something he “can f*ck.” One employee recalled West saying, “We create products of passion. I literally want to f*ck my shoes. That’s how good they are.”
When employees weren’t satisfying him, he’d allegedly belittle them. On one occasion, he made a woman sit on the ground during an hours-long meeting. “You don’t deserve to sit at the table,” he allegedly told the employee.
West Allegedly Showed Porn to Collaborators, Staff, on Numerous Occasions
On numerous occasions, West would pull out his laptop or phone and watch porn. But he would do it in front of others and often make them watch. A potential Yeezy / Adidas collaborator who was invited to West’s home to discuss work spoke to Rolling Stone about one such incident.
“He showed me the video of Francesca Le, a buff porn star with a strap-on dildo f**king another girl in the ass,” the collaborator said. “He’s like, ‘What do you think of it?’ Not laughing at all.”
The collaborator explained how their perception of the incident changed over time. They saw it as a form of abuse and manipulative control.
“At the time I found it odd but in line with his persona as an edgy artist,” they said. “Now, seeing it within a larger pattern, I feel it was a tactic to break a person down and establish their unwavering allegiance to him, testing and destroying people’s boundaries.”
Francesca Le later gave a statement to Rolling Stone about the way her work was being used. She said it was “extremely concerning, disheartening, and disappointing” that it was being used to “[demean] other human beings.”
Kanye West Showed Explicit Photos, Video of Kim Kardashian Without Her Permission
West also allegedly showed explicit nude photos and videos of his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian. At one point, he forced his company to fast-track a shoe because it reminded him of her butt. He also showed his own personal sex tapes to people at work.
The report alleges “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.” It also states that, while employees were told that they could leave the room if West made them uncomfortable, West himself would likely make a scene.
Additionally, those who spoke up or complained about his behavior were often given a “soft landing.” This usually meant that “they move them out of the team and push them out the back door.” The report also alleges that senior management at Adidas “turned their moral compass off.”
Spokesperson Says Internal Investigation Is Ongoing
BuzzFeed News was told by an Adidas spokesperson that the company doesn’t tolerate “hate speech and offensive behavior.” The Adidas rep also ensured that the company is looking into the details of the allegations against Kanye West.
“We have been and continue to be actively engaged in conversations with our employees about the events that led to our decision to end the partnership,” the spokesperson told BuzzFeed. “They have our full support, and as we’re working through the details of the termination.”
The spokesperson also made clear that the allegations are not necessarily true but that an independent investigation has been opened.
“It is currently not clear whether the accusations made in an anonymous letter are true,” the spokesperson for Adidas told BuzzFeed. “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.”