Investors sue Adidas for ‘routinely’ ignoring Ye’s ‘extreme behavior’
Kanye West at Milk Studios on June 28, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for ADIDAS)
Adidas investors are suing the German sports retail giant over its failure to address the behavior of Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, before dropping its partnership with him last year.
Adidas formally cut ties with Ye, halting production of his popular Yeezy products, in October after he made a slew of antisemitic remarks.
In a lawsuit filed Friday in Oregon, Adidas’ investors are now claiming the company “routinely ignored extreme behavior” by Ye. Adidas, its CFO Harm Ohlmeyer and its former CEO Kasper Rørsted are named as defendants in the suit.
Among several instances mentioned in the filing are Ye’s controversial comments to TMZ in 2018, when he suggested that slavery was a “choice.” In response, Adidas said that while there “are some comments we don’t support… Kanye has been and is a very important part of our strategy and has been a fantastic creator.”
The filing also says the company ended its partnership with the controversial rapper only “after weeks of criticism over its failure” to do so.
Adidas denounced the legal action in a statement to USA Today, calling the claims “unfounded.”
“We outright reject these unfounded claims and will take all necessary measures to vigorously defend ourselves against them,” said Adidas spokesperson Claudia Lange.
A few weeks after ceasing its work with Ye, Adidas launched an investigation into allegations against him, including that he bullied employees and forced them to watch pornography.
“It is currently not clear whether the accusations made in an anonymous letter are true,” a spokesperson for the company said at the time. “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.”
Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.