Business Desk : dhakamirror.com
Adidas is facing a class-action lawsuit filed by investors who claim the company knew about the risks of its partnership with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, years before it terminated its relationship with the rapper over his antisemitic comments.
In the lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in Oregon, the investors, citing a report by The Wall Street Journal, charge Adidas executives discussed the risks of continuing its collaboration with Ye as far back as 2018.
The investors noted that when Ye said in a 2018 interview that slavery “sounds like a choice,” former Adidas CEO Kasper Rorsted said, “There clearly are some comments we don’t support. Kanye has been and is a very important part of our strategy and has been a fantastic creator.”
In the aftermath of that comment, the lawsuit claims that Adidas “ignored the risks of oversupply of Yeezy branded shoes in the event that the partnership was to suddenly end, and in particular, if demand for the shoes were to fall due to any controversy surrounding West.”
Investors claim a 2018 annual report “ignored serious issues” with the partnership and the potential risk to shareholders by “generally alluding” to the risks “rather than stating that the company had actually considered ending the partnership as a result of West’s personal behavior.”
The investors also said Adidas failed to disclose that Ye made antisemitic remarks in front of Adidas staff, according to the lawsuit.
Adidas said in a media statement, “We outright reject these unfounded claims and will take all necessary measures to vigorously defend ourselves against them.”
The German sportswear giant ended its partnership with Ye in October following the designer’s antisemitic remarks on social media and in interviews. The company called Ye’s comments “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous” at the time. Adidas has revealed that it could lose up to $1.3 billion on unsold Yeezy products if it decides not to sell them and warned it could report its first loss in three decades.