Adidas shareholders have filed a class action lawsuit against the brand over its failure to warn investors about the antisemitism and extreme behaviour of famous American singer and fashion designer, Kanye Omari West.
The shareholders also accused Adidas of taking meaningful precautionary measures to limit negative financial exposure if the partnership ended.
The shareholders in the lawsuit alleged that Adidas routinely ignored Kanye’s behaviour in 2018. Claiming that senior executives ignored serious issues affecting the Yeezy partnership, namely his antisemitic remark and troubling public comments about slavery.
Report from that year shows that Adidas was generally alluding to the risks “rather than stating that the company had actually considered ending the partnership as a result of West’s personal behaviour. Adding that Ye had that time stated that slavery was a choice during his TMZ interview.
Adidas’ Chief former CEO Kasper Rorsted and Financial Officer Harm Ohlmeyer are named as defendants.
The lawsuit doesn’t name the rapper, who now goes by Ye. The suit covers anyone who bought an Adidas share from May 3, 2018 (when Ye made the slavery remark) until 2023.
Responding to the suit in a statement on Monday, Adidas described the suit as unfounded claims
“We outright reject these unfounded claims and will take all necessary measures to vigorously defend ourselves against them.”
Recall that Adidas ended its almost decade-long partnership with West in October 2022 after Ye wore a “White Lives Matter T-shirt in public. Days later, Ye said I can say antisemitic comments and Adidas cannot drop me” during podcast taping.
Adidas said its partnership with Ye ended because it doesn’t tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech” and said his comments were hateful, dangerous and unacceptable.”
It also said they violated the company’s “values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”
Adidas had in February revealed it would be losing $1.3 billion in revenue this year 2023 because of its inability to sell the designer’s Yeezy clothing and shoes.