The company claims that several news statements that were purportedly sent by Adidas about the start of Berlin Fashion Week, its treatment of workers abroad, and other matters pertaining to its corporate structure were false.
The retailer’s vice president of external communication, Claudia Lange, wrote in an email to CNBC, “We’re not commenting on these bogus emails/releases.
One fabricated press release claimed that Vay Ya Nak Phoan, a former union leader and factory worker from Cambodia, had been named co-CEO to ensure moral conformity in manufacturing.
The Yes Men, an activist collective with a track record of producing parodies to highlight how corporations handle social concerns, revealed to CNBC that it was behind the releases alongside other organizations. The organizations are hoping Adidas would join the Pay Your Workers labor contract, which supports the ability to organize and fair wages for garment workers.
The Yes Men member Mike Bonanno remarked, “In the wake of multiple scandals, it seems like it would be a terrific thing for them to turn over a new leaf.”
In two of the phoney press releases, it was said that Pharrell Williams, Bad Bunny, and Philllllthy were introducing a line of clothes for Adidas dubbed REALITYWEAR. According to the fake press release announcing the beginning of Berlin Fashion Week on January 16, it was part of an effort to refocus attention on workers’ rights and the sourcing of raw materials.
On a “Workplace Standards” page devoted to the subject, Adidas explains its position on workers’ rights and outlines its code of behaviour for employee health, safety, remuneration, and “responsible sourcing.”
The Yes Men’s involvement in the campaign was initially revealed by The Guardian.
The multi-faceted Yes Men campaign also made reference to the now-discontinued collaboration with Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West who has come under fire recently for making anti-Semitic remarks, and it included a “response” from the company that offered fabricated answers to issues raised in the initial releases.