By Gayle Harrington and Robert North, CNN
Adidas will begin an investigation into allegations of misconduct against Kanye West, with whom the company had a partnership that it ended in October.
In a statement released Thursday, Adidas said “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.”
The statement follows an article in Rolling Stone which reported that Adidas board members ignored inappropriate behavior from the rapper, who legally changed his name to Ye, in its partnership with his Yeezy brand.
The misconduct, according to Rolling Stone, includes accusations of verbal abuse, bullying and offensive remarks, especially towards women, and sexual harassment. The Rolling Stone piece details how West repeatedly played porn and shared explicit images during business meetings.
Rolling Stone says it obtained a letter sent by former high-ranking employees of Yeezy to executive board members on Tuesday about “the toxic and chaotic environment that Kanye West created.” The letter went on to say, “This type of response from a brand partner is one that Adidas employees should never be subjected to, nor should Adidas leadership ever tolerate.”
Adidas ended its partnership with Ye after he made a series of antisemitic remarks in recent months. In late October, West addressed the antisemetic comments — as well as as what he’s said about George Floyd and Black Lives Matter — in a rambling 16-minute video shared by WmgLab Records on YouTube and seemingly recorded at some point after Adidas ended its business relationship with him.
“I think Adidas felt like cause everyone was ganging up on me that they had the right to just take my designs,” West told a small crowd.
In the video, West did not apologize for his antisemitic remarks but seemed to try to distance himself from any “hate group.”
“I have no association to any hate group,” West said as he closed his remarks in prayer. “If any hate happens upon any Jewish person, it is not associated (gestures to himself) because I am demanding that everyone walk in love.”
Adidas had partnered with West since 2013, when the company signed his brand away from rival Nike. In 2016, Adidas expanded its relationship with the rapper, calling it “the most significant partnership ever created between a non-athlete and an athletic brand.”
CNN reached out to an asociate of West’s and also the brand Yeezy for comment, but has not heard back. West doesn’t currently have an attorney or publicist representing him in this matter.
– CNN’s Dan Heching contributed to this report
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