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Adidas launches investigation into misconduct allegations against Kanye West

The German athletic brand was one of several companies to cut ties with Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, last month over his anti-Semitic comments.
Kanye West attends the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Feb. 9, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Kanye West attends the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Feb. 9, 2020.Rich Fury / Getty Images for Vanity Fair file

Adidas has launched an investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior against Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, the German athletic brand announced Thursday.

Adidas, which was one of several companies to cut ties with Ye after the artist made a string of anti-Semitic comments, said it launched the probe after reviewing an anonymous letter making allegations against him.

"It is currently not clear whether the accusations made in an anonymous letter are true," Adidas said in a statement. "However, we take these allegations very seriously and have taken the decision to launch an independent investigation of the matter immediately to address the allegations.”

The announcement comes after Rolling Stone magazine detailed allegations of incidents of inappropriate behavior by Ye towards staff members and prospective workers, including accusations that the rapper had shown workers nude photos of his ex-wife Kim Kardashian. 

The magazine reported that a number of former workers had sent an anonymous letter to Adidas alleging that senior leaders at the company had turned a "blind eye" to Ye's behavior. NBC News has not seen or independently verified the letter.

NBC News was not immediately able to reach representatives for Ye.

In its statement, Adidas also noted its decision last month to cut ties with Ye after his anti-Semitic remarks.

“Adidas does not tolerate hate speech and offensive behavior and therefore has terminated the adidas Yeezy partnership," it said. "We have been and continue to be actively engaged in conversations with our employees about the events that lead to our decision to end the partnership. They have our full support and as we’re working through the details of the termination."

Balenciaga and prominent talent agency CAA were also among the companies to end their relationships with Ye over his comments.

Adidas joined in the decision after social media users began calling out the athletic brand after an anti-Semitic hate group hung a banner over a Los Angeles freeway Saturday that read “Kanye is right about the Jews.” Local politicians, social media users and other celebrities also denounced the incident.

Ye also saw his Twitter and Instagram accounts temporarily restricted after posting anti-Semitic messages.

Documents reviewed by NBC News recently showed that Ye also paid a settlement to a former employee who alleged that he had used anti-Semitic language in the workplace. Meanwhile, several people who had worked with the rapper or witnessed him in professional settings over the past five years said they had heard him praise Adolf Hitler or mention conspiracy theories about Jewish people.