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The CEO and other senior executives at Adidas according to a report by the Wall Street Journal, already discussed the possible consequences of his relationship with Kanye West four years ago.
During a presentation to Adidas’ board of directors in 2018, a group of employees reportedly outlined the risks they faced from interacting with West, who legally changed his name to Ye. The presentation included a number of mitigation strategies, including cutting ties with the Yeezy creator, the report said.
But Adidas executives didn’t part ways when those concerns were raised, instead continuing to meet with Ye to try and hold on to the partnership, which Adidas says is making nearly $2 billion a year, or 10% of its annual revenue, according to Morningstar analyst David Schwartz brought in sales. During a meeting in September this year, the report said, Ye accused adidas executives of stealing his designs and showed them a clip of an adult video.
The German sportswear giant officially ended its partnership with Ye in October after the musician made a series of offensive and anti-Semitic comments.
“Adidas does not condone anti-Semitism or any other form of hate speech,” the company said in a statement. “Yes’ recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and violate the company values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”
A month later, Adidas announced it was investigating allegations by employees related to Ye’s behavior following an anonymous letter alleging years of abuse.
Yes’s alleged behavior was not new, according to employees who spoke to the journal. Some of them had raised concerns about Ye back in 2018 with adidas executives and HR.
“It is currently not clear whether the allegations made in an anonymous letter are true,” Adidas said in a statement on Thursday. “However, we take these allegations very seriously and have made the decision to immediately launch an independent investigation into the matter to resolve the allegations.”