When Adidas minimize ties with Kanye West a yr in the past, ending their wildly profitable shoe deal, the breakup gave the impression to be the fruits of weeks of his inflammatory remarks about Jews and Black Lives Matter. However a New York Instances examination discovered that behind the scenes, the partnership was fraught from the beginning.

Mr. West, who now goes by Ye, subjected staff to antisemitic and crude sexual feedback and routine verbal abuse. As Adidas executives doubled down on a partnership that boosted firm earnings and made Mr. West a billionaire, they scrambled for tactics to deal with the star’s calls for and provocations.

Interviews with present and former staff of Adidas and of Mr. West, together with a whole lot of beforehand undisclosed inside information, together with contracts, textual content messages and monetary paperwork, present the fullest accounting but of the connection. Listed here are seven takeaways.

Mr. West’s first contract with Adidas, in 2013, had probably the most beneficiant phrases it had ever provided to a non-athlete. Within the subsequent one, three years later, Mr. West bought extra money, and Adidas bought a morals clause — permitting it to finish the partnership if he did something that led to “disrepute, contempt, scandal,” in response to a replica obtained by The Instances.

Because the partnership earned billions of {dollars}, Mr. West’s habits grew more and more erratic. However it isn’t clear whether or not the model ever thought-about invoking the morals clause earlier than terminating the deal final yr.

Each Adidas and Mr. West declined interview requests and didn’t touch upon The Instances’s findings.

Shortly after signing with Adidas, he met with designers at firm headquarters in Germany to debate concepts. He was so offended by their sketches, he drew a swastika on one, surprising staff.

He later informed a Jewish Adidas supervisor to kiss a portrait of Hitler on daily basis. He knowledgeable a member of the corporate’s government board that he had paid a seven-figure settlement to certainly one of his personal staff who accused him of repeatedly praising Hitler.

Mr. West informed Adidas colleagues that he admired Hitler’s command of propaganda. He additionally expressed a perception that Jews had particular powers permitting them to amass cash and affect.

Weeks earlier than the swastika incident in 2013, Mr. West made Adidas executives watch pornography throughout a gathering at his Manhattan residence. He continued displaying pornography to Adidas staff at work. Final yr, he ambushed Adidas executives in Los Angeles with a pornographic movie.

Employees members additionally complained to high executives that he had made indignant, sexually offensive feedback to them.

Mr. West contended repeatedly that Adidas was exploiting him. He sought extra money and energy, even suggesting that he ought to grow to be chief government.

His complaints had been typically delivered amid extreme temper swings, creating whiplash for workers. Recognized with bipolar dysfunction, he at instances rejected the evaluation and resisted remedy. Tears had been widespread; so was fury.

In 2019, he abruptly moved his Yeezy operation to distant Cody, Wyo., ordering the Adidas crew to relocate. He used “terms like ‘believer’ and ‘pilgrimage’” to explain those that would comply with him there, an Adidas government informed colleagues in a gaggle textual content chain. In a gathering with Adidas’s leaders that yr to debate his calls for, he hurled footwear across the room.

Managers and high executives began the group textual content chain, the “Yzy hotline,” to deal with points involving Mr. West.

The Adidas crew engaged on Yeezys adopted a method they likened to firefighting, rotating members on and off the entrance strains of coping with the artist. “We are in a code red,” the crew’s common supervisor texted colleagues in 2019. “The first line is completely exhausted and don’t feel supported.”

The corporate assigned a human assets official to the unit and gave new hires a subscription to a meditation app. The workers usually gathered for one thing akin to group remedy.

Underneath the 2016 contract, he obtained a 15 % royalty on web gross sales, with $15 million upfront together with thousands and thousands of {dollars} in firm inventory every year.

The “biggest issue,” an Adidas doc from contract negotiations famous, was “putting CASH in Kanye’s pocket to show him we VALUE him.” The partnership would propel him to Forbes’s listing of the world’s richest folks.

And in 2019, Adidas agreed to a different enticement: $100 million yearly, formally for Yeezy advertising however, in apply, a fund that Mr. West might spend with little oversight.

After the connection ruptured a yr in the past and Yeezy gross sales got here to a halt, each Adidas and Mr. West had been hit laborious. The corporate projected its first annual loss in many years. Mr. West’s web price plummeted.

However that they had no less than another likelihood to maintain earning money collectively. In Could, the corporate started releasing the remaining $1.3 billion price of Yeezys. A minimize of the proceeds would go to charity. However many of the income would go to Adidas, and Mr. West was entitled to royalties.