Several Yeezy employees are calling out Kanye West for his allegedly toxic workplace environment!
A new report published by Rolling Stone on Wednesday detailed what it was like working for the 45-year-old artist under his fashion brand Yeezy. What may have seemed like a dream job for some fans was a nightmare for others, so claims several former employees who allege the company had an “abusive” workplace environment and “cult-like atmosphere.” As an Adidas Yeezy senior team member explained:
“Nothing has ever compared to the amount of chaos, the amount of stress and [the amount of] anxiety you go through working for Yeezy.”
One designer also said to the publication:
“His anger at us in everyday interactions was just inappropriate, and honestly an HR nightmare.”
“How he is on social media is exactly how he’s like with employees.”
Well, if you’ve seen what’s gone down on his social media in the past year alone, you can probably get a clear picture of how he was running Yeezy then…
According to the report, staff members were expected to work long hours – normally between 12-to-15 hour days – and deal with Kanye’s eccentricities and sudden demands, which would include suddenly packing and moving offices with little warning. A former employee who worked for the brand in 2020 shared:
“He thrives off of chaos. He needs that around to keep him hungry and motivated and all this other stuff.”
An ex-contractor said everyone felt like Kanye “expects them to work like he works,” adding:
“There was no space to have a life. So, you’re always, always, always at work.”
While that type of hustle culture may have been deemed inspirational years ago, these days people are more tuned in to the importance of work-life balance and its impact on overall health. Someone else mentioned:
“We [didn’t] leave unless Kanye leaves. Nobody wanted anything to go wrong while Kanye was there because your job obviously could be in jeopardy if a mega-superstar is there and the printer doesn’t work.”
Adding to the high demands, Rolling Stone noted that random layoffs and “abrupt firings were the norm” in the office, leaving many feeling like their jobs were always in danger since someone could be fired for something as harmless as wearing the wrong color. A Yeezy executive alleged that Kanye told a top creative who wore a yellow sweater in the office that they had to “dress for the palette or you dress in black.” The company then fired the person.
And that’s not the only instance of a baseless firing. Weeks before the fashion designer’s first collection, he had been working with other designers and playing his own music in the background. When someone asked if he turned on something else, Ye asked for suggestions from someone else in the room. He turned to a random staff member who preferred punk and rock music:
“I thought, ‘Oh, he’s a rapper, I should probably mention some rap.’”
He mentioned Drake. And as you know, he and Kanye haven’t always been on good terms, so the employee allegedly got sacked over it:
“Big mistake — the next day I was fired.”
Part of the issue for the mayhem in the office, employees explained, had to do with the fact that Kanye never had a trusted inner circle since the place was always a revolving door of people who had no distinct roles in the business:
“It was just pure chaos. There was no structure; no one knew who the boss was, other than Kanye.”
One contractor described that Kanye tried to run the company like he produced an album, working with a bunch of collaborators to create music and then parting ways once it’s done – something that doesn’t translate well to a successful business:
“The biggest issue is that he doesn’t appear to have high-level operational people that he trusts. Without the operational backbone, no company can really exist for a super long time. You can’t build a multi-billion-dollar brand without an operations director who stays in the job for more than six months. … He needs professionals that don’t give a shit that he’s Kanye West.”
On top of the constant firing, paying his employees was also an issue. Many staff members allegedly would go MONTHS without seeing their paychecks deposited into their bank accounts and would then have to ask for money from family until they got paid. At one point, they held a “mini-strike” until they received their money – but there were still people waiting to get their checks. An ex-Yeezy member further claimed that Kanye would withhold payment approval as a type of “revenge” against Adidas’ demands:
“I’m not sure he ever realized that people in his orbit weren’t getting paid. I think he just thought, ‘I’m not approving this stuff because I’m pissed for XYZ, so I’m just gonna put a halt on whatever [Adidas] bring[s] to us for payment.’ I really don’t know that he ever looked deep enough to know that it was affecting his own people.”
While some employees had positive things to say about working with Kanye, most had a lot of negative things to say about it, including a contractor who worked at Yeezy in 2019 who said it was “both the worst job I’ve ever had and the best job I’ve ever had, concurrently.” They explained:
“When you work for somebody with that much vision and that much money, you really can make incredible change … Everything he does is a giant mess of vacuuming up all of people’s time — just consuming their entire lives and then the output just gets left on the side of the road somewhere.”
Elsewhere in the report, Kanye – who has come under fire for his antisemitic comments – allegedly remarked to staffers that “skinheads and Nazis were his greatest inspiration” while going through a bunch of apparel for Paris Fashion Week in his El Lay showroom.
Remember how his recent slew of controversies began when he decided to wear a “White Lives Matter” shirt? Well, a source said he told employees he wanted to push the message “We Are N*****ish.”
When Kanye stepped out in the problematic shirts at the show with Candace Owens, one employee said many folks at the office felt “very uncomfortable”:
“It was like, ‘What the fuck?’ It was definitely a topic of conversation among everyone. A lot of us were very uncomfortable with it. It was professionally frustrating for everybody who had worked really hard and then for the talk of the whole thing to be the shirt.”
Two recent ex-workers believe Kanye’s recent stunts were part of a plan to make sure Adidas and Gap pulled their contracts with him, with others noting he thought he “would be in control completely of his designs.” Well, the father of four only partially got his wish then because while multiple brands, including Adidas and Balenciaga, have cut ties with him following his antisemitic comments, Adidas recently stated they still “owned” the designs.
Reactions to the report, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments below.
[Image via WENN]