Adidas chief executive and other senior leaders at the company reportedly discussed as early as 2018 concerns about continuing the relationship with Kanye West, that they feared could implode at any moment.
During a 2018 presentation to members of the company’s executive board, a group of employees that included CEO Kasper Rorsted outlined the risks employees faced by interacting with Ye, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
The presentation featured mitigation strategies for Adidas’ relationship with Kanye now known as Ye, including cutting ties with the Yeezy creator.
The report adds that instead of Adidas severing ties with Ye, the senior executives had business-unit leaders share various proposals with the rapper, so Adidas could keep the Yeezy partnership, which accounted for an estimated 8% of annual sales at the time.
As early as September this year, Ye and Adidas executives engaged in a meeting which he requested more money and control over the Yeezy brand. Ye also showed the executives a clip from an adult video and accused them of stealing his designs.
The company agreed to some of Ye’s demands after the meeting, including the ability to sell Yeezy footwear directly to consumers, ownership of future designs and assurances that he would receive a cut of the sales from Yeezy look-alike products.
The offer would extend the partnership between the two sides through at least 2026. Ye was reportedly not satisfied, as he sought as much as $3 billion.
Then in October, Adidas terminated its relationship with Ye in response to several antisemitic comments made by the rapper.
“Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness,” the statement read.
Earlier this month, Adidas announced the launch of an investigation into Ye’s behavior after the company received an anonymous letter alleging years of misconduct by him toward Adidas staff and that company management ignored his conduct.
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