A new Rolling Stone report sheds more light on Kanye West’s alleged mistreatment of Yeezy employees, as numerous former staffers accuse Ye of repeatedly showing them “hardcore” pornography during work hours.
A variety of West’s actions are detailed in an open letter issued Tuesday by former high-ranking Yeezy staff members to the executive board members and CEO of Adidas.
Titled “The Truth About Yeezy: A Call to Action for Adidas Leadership,” the letter—per RS, which obtained a copy—demands that Adidas leadership address “the toxic and chaotic environment that Kanye West created” as well as a “very sick pattern of predacious behavior toward women” who worked under Ye.
According to numerous former staffers, Kanye frequently discussed porn and played explicit videos during staff meetings, displayed intimate photographs of ex-wife Kim Kardashian in job interviews, and even played his own sex tapes for Yeezy team members.
“He showed me the video of Francesca Le, a buff porn star with a strap-on dildo fucking another girl in the ass,” one past collaborator told Rolling Stone. “He’s like, ‘What do you think of it?’ Not laughing at all.”
“The oversexualized behavior has been consistent since the beginning,” said another former senior employee. “I don’t know that it ever went away.”
One employee said Kanye expressed to colleagues his desire to make a sneaker into which he could ejaculate. “Not a sex-toy sneaker but something that you were so into that you would wanna have an intimate relationship,” she explained. “He’d be, like, ‘literally fuck.’ He would be very clear on what that meant.”
While Kanye’s pornography displays were far beyond acceptable, ex-staffers maintain that Adidas’ senior executive team overlooked his unprofessionalism. Other alleged incidents and behaviors included Ye playing adult videos in meetings with the excuse that he needed them “in the background to keep [him] focused,” and having “exploded at women in the room with offensive remarks,” including calling an employee a “fat slut.”
“The most troubling behavior that should have been flagged by the executive team very early in the partnership is his manipulative and fear-based approach to leading the team, all while trying to assert dominance over Adidas employees in closed rooms,” the letter stated.
Though the group is requesting that the executive board members issue a public apology to the Yeezy team for enduring “Kanye’s terrorizing behavior,” the open letter focuses the blame on Adidas leadership.
“As much as we all would love to solely blame Kanye,” the letter says, “the undeniable truth is that the Adidas executive team and the board have been huge enablers.”
One prior staffer observed that there are “many forms of abuse, and this is the kind of abuse that’s so many kinds of abuse combined into one,” while another said West uses “tactic[s] to break a person down and establish their unwavering allegiance to him, testing and destroying people’s boundaries.”
A spokesperson for Adidas issued a statement to RS on the company’s behalf, writing, “Adidas does not tolerate hate speech and offensive behavior and therefore has terminated the adidas Yeezy partnership. We have been and continue to be actively engaged in conversations with our employees about the events that lead [sic] to our decision to end the partnership. They have our full support and as we’re working through the details of the termination, we have been clear that we want to keep our employees’ talent and skills within the organization.”
Read the full report here. Also included is an incident where West is alleged in 2019 to have texted a then-employee about a nearly forgotten sneaker prototype, “We really need this shoe to be done because all I think about is Kim’s ass and this shoe.” This propelled the design “from no work to the number-one most important model,” only for it to never go to market.