Kanye West has been accused of showing explicit photos of his ex-wife Kim Kardashian to Adidas employees, as part of behavior that many have seen as “intimidation tactics,” according to a new report.
The 43-year-old rapper and producer, also known as Ye, lost a design deal with the sportswear brand last month over anti-Semitic comments. He was accused of showing the images in a Rolling Stone article published on Tuesday.
An employee claimed Ye flashed an explicit picture of Kardashian, 41, during a job interview in 2018.
“My wife just sent me this,” Ye said after flashing a “very revealing and personal” photo on her phone.
Another former employee, according to the report, said Ye showed “personal” images of Kardashian to the creative team of her Yeezy brand that same year.
An unidentified third source told Rolling Stone West that he’s “not afraid to show graphic images or talk about situations that should be kept private.”
Former Adidas employees told Rolling Stone that Ye often showed explicit images, including her sex tapes.
“I feel like it was a tactic to tear down a person and establish their unwavering allegiance to him, by testing and destroying people’s boundaries,” one said. Another claimed that Ye targeted female employees.
Some of the allegations were made in an open letter, titled The Truth About Yeezy: A Call to Action for Adidas Leadership, which was obtained by Rolling Stone. In the letter, employees criticized Adidas executives for allegedly turning off their “moral compass.”
The letter urged Adidas board members and senior executives to address “the toxic and chaotic environment created by Kanye West” and “a very sick pattern of predatory behavior toward women.”
The letter continued: “In years past, he has exploded at the women in the room with offensive comments and resorted to sexually disturbing references when providing design feedback. This type of response from a brand partner is something Adidas employees should never be subjected to, nor Adidas leadership should ever tolerate.”
In comments to Rolling Stone, Yeezy and Adidas employees also expressed regret for agreeing to what they saw as an unwritten rule — “Kanye is just Kanye” — that they said diminished the impact of his alleged behavior.
In the letter, the employees accused Adidas of lacking “accountability, accountability and protection that Adidas failed to provide to its employees during what we experienced as years of verbal abuse, vulgar tirades and bouts of bullying.”
A former employee who worked closely with Ye said, “Adidas has allowed a lot of that kind of behavior.”
Former Adidas employees also alleged that Ye’s behavior was public knowledge when he posted a 30-minute YouTube documentary showing pornography to Adidas executives during a company meeting.
Saying it spoke up for employees who “might be afraid to speak up,” the open letter says the documentary showed what was “by no means an intimidating new approach,” adding that “Kanye’s problematic behavior started during the first year of his collaboration with the Adidas brand”.
An Adidas spokesperson told the Guardian on Wednesday: “Adidas does not tolerate hate speech and offensive behavior and therefore has terminated its partnership with Adidas Yeezy.
“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. They have our full support and while we are working on the details of the termination, we have been clear that we want to keep the talent and skills of our employees within the organisation.
“That said, we will not be discussing any private conversations, details or events leading up to our decision to terminate the adidas Yeezy partnership and we will decline to comment on any related speculation.”
You have not commented. The Guardian was not immediately able to reach him for comment.
Gap, Balenciaga and talent agency CAA have also dropped partnerships with Ye. Twitter and Instagram blocked her accounts.
During Paris Fashion Week in October, Ye appeared at his show wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt and said in tweets that he planned to go “death with [sic] 3 on the Jewish people”. He also accused Adidas and Gap of stealing his designs.
Ye has already said that pornography “destroyed” his family. Earlier this month, he he wrote on Twitter: “I’m doing a 30 day cleanse. A verbal fast. No alcohol. No adult movies. No reports.”