Kanye West has been accused of showing explicit photos of his ex-wife Kim Kardashian to Adidas employees, in behavior that many consider an “intimidation tactic”, according to a new report.
The 43-year-old rapper and producer, also known as Ye, lost a design contract 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 that Ye showed an explicit photo of Kardashian, 41, during a job interview in 2018.
“My wife just sent me this,” Ye reportedly said after showing a “very revealing and personal” photo on her phone.
According to the report, another former employee showed “personal” images of Kardashian to the creative team of her Yeezy brand the same year.
A third, unidentified source told Rolling Stone West “wasn’t afraid to show explicit images or talk about situations that should be kept private.”
Former Adidas employees told Rolling Stone that Ye frequently showed explicit images, including his own sex tapes.
“I think it was a tactic to break a person down and establish his unwavering allegiance to them, 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 slammed Adidas executives for allegedly turning off their “moral compass.”
The letter urged board members and senior executives at Adidas to address “the toxic and chaotic environment created by Kanye West” and “a very sick pattern of predatory behavior towards women.”
The letter continued: ‘He has, in years past, blasted at the women in the room with offensive remarks and allegedly resorted to sexually disturbing references when providing feedback on the design. This type of response from a Brand Partner is one that Adidas employees should never be subjected to, and Adidas management should never tolerate.
In comments to Rolling Stone, Yeezy and Adidas employees also expressed regret for accepting what they saw as an unwritten rule – “Kanye is just Kanye” – which they said reduced the impact of his alleged behavior.
In the letter, the employees accused Adidas of lacking “responsibility, responsibility and protection that Adidas has failed to provide its employees throughout what we have experienced as years of verbal abuse, tirades vulgar and bullying attacks”.
A former employee who worked closely with Ye said, “Adidas allowed a lot of this kind of behavior.”
Former Adidas employees also said Ye’s behavior became public knowledge when he posted a 30-minute documentary on YouTube in which he showed Adidas executives at a company meeting.
Saying he was speaking for employees who “may be afraid to speak up,” the open letter claims the documentary showed what was “by no means a new approach to bullying,” adding that “the problematic behavior of Kanye started during the first year of his partnership with the Adidas brand”.
On Wednesday, an Adidas spokesperson told the Guardian: “Adidas does not tolerate hate speech and offensive behavior and has therefore terminated the 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, as we work through the details of the termination, we have made it clear that we want to retain the talents and skills of our employees within the organization.
“That said, we will not discuss the private conversations, details or events that led to our decision to end the partnership with Adidas Yeezy and we decline to comment on any related speculation.”
Ye did not comment. The Guardian was unable to immediately contact him for comment.
Gap, Balenciaga and talent agency CAA also dropped their partnerships with Ye. Twitter and Instagram blocked his accounts.
In October, during Paris Fashion Week, Ye appeared at his own fashion show wearing a “White Lives Matter” t-shirt and said in tweets that he planned to go “death con.” [sic] 3 on the Jewish people”. He also accused Adidas and Gap of stealing his designs.
Ye has previously said that pornography has “destroyed” his family. Earlier this month he wrote on Twitter: “I take a cure of 30 days. A verbal fast. No alcohol. No adult movies. No sex.