Pedestrians walk by a big Adidas logo contained in the German multinational sportswear shop.
Miguel Candela | SOPA Images | LightRocket via Getty Images
Several press releases allegedly sent from Adidas a few Berlin Fashion Week launch, its treatment of staff abroad and other topics related to its business structure were fake, based on the corporate.
“We’re not commenting on these fake emails/releases,” said Claudia Lange, the retailer’s vp of external communication, in an email to CNBC.
One faked release said that Vay Ya Nak Phoan, who was described as a former Cambodian factory employee and union leader, had been appointed co-CEO to make sure ethical compliance in manufacturing.
The Yes Men, an activist group that has a history of making spoofs to attract attention to how corporations reply to social issues, confirmed to CNBC it was behind the releases together with other groups. The groups hope Adidas signs onto the Pay Your Employees labor agreement, which advocates for garment employee pay and the proper to arrange.
“Within the wake of several scandals, it looks as if it might be an ideal thing for them to show over a recent leaf,” said a member of The Yes Men identified as Mike Bonanno.
Two of the faked press releases claimed Adidas was launching recent clothing called REALITYWEAR from celebrities Pharrell Williams, Bad Bunny and Philllllthy. The hoax release announcing the Berlin Fashion Week debut on Jan. 16 claimed it was a part of a push for a renewed deal with staff’ rights and material sourcing.
Adidas outlines its stance on staff’ rights on a “Workplace Standards” page dedicated to the problem, spelling out its code of conduct for employee health, safety, pay and “responsible sourcing.”
The Guardian first reported that The Yes Men were behind the campaign.
The multi-layered Yes Men campaign also referenced the now-ended partnership with Ye, the rapper formerly generally known as Kanye West who has come under fire in recent months for anti-Semitic statements, and included a “response” from the corporate, providing fabricated responses to points raised in the primary releases.
— CNBC’s Gabrielle Fonrouge and Jessica Golden contributed reporting