Adidas may have cut ties with Kanye West last year, but the athleticwear company is still facing the consequences of its long-time partnership with the controversial rapper. Most recently, a class action lawsuit was filed that accuses Adidas of deceiving its shareholders over concerns about Kanye’s behavior.
Last year, many individuals and companies distanced themselves from Ye after a series of divisive behavior, including anti-semitic and anti-Black comments.
“[Adidas] does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” a statement from the company said at the time. “Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous.”
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After facing public pressure to cancel its Yeezy collaboration, Adidas finally announced in October it was severing ties with Kanye West and his clothing brand.
However, despite announcing it would continue to manufacture Yeezy-inspired designs without Ye’s involvement, Adidas’ sales have suffered in the aftermath. In December, it was reported the company was struggling to sell $530 million in Yeezy products.
Now, the company may be in more financial trouble. The new lawsuit names Adidas’ former chief executive officer, Kasper Rorsted, as well as its chief financial officer, Harm Ohlmeyer, who allegedly “intended to deceive” Adidas investors by failing to disclose the conflict between the company and Kanye.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, which is the state where Adidas headquarters are located.
The case argues that Adidas executives were aware of Kanye’s controversial behavior for years but went to great lengths to minimize their concerns to the rest of the company. It claims that statements made by the company regarding Ye were “materially false and/or misleading at all relevant times.”
For example, the investors claims that Adidas ignored their concerns about Kanye in 2018 by rather “generally alluding […] rather than stating that the company had actually considered ending the partnership as a result of West’s personal behavior.”
Moreover, the lawsuit claims Adidas didn’t take proper measures to protect its finances from the fallout caused by Kanye’s actions.
The case is seeking unspecific damages, but it’s likely in the millions or more, considering Adidas’ billion-dollar valuation. It’s being requested that the class action’s legal fees be covered, too.
Adidas has responded to the lawsuit only to deny the allegations. “We outright reject these unfounded claims,” the company said in a statement. “[We] will take all necessary measures to vigorously defend ourselves against them.”
Kanye has not publicly addressed the lawsuit; he’s also not being named in the case.
Sources: Hip Hop DX, BBC,
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