Nike has responded to recent allegations related to inappropriate workplace culture at Tom Sachs’ studio.
Multiple former employees of the artist alleged a “destabilizing and scary,” work environment, according to a Curbed investigation published on Monday. Former employees quoted in the story alleged that Sachs made multiple inappropriate comments related to sex and employees’ appearance, threw objects across the room in the direction of employees, called a storage room in the basement the “rape room,” walked around in just underwear while in the studio and called employees “autistic,” “retarded,” “bitch,” and other names.
Nike, a long-time collaborator with Sachs, said it is “deeply concerned by the very serious allegations” in a statement shared with FN.
“We are in contact with Tom and his studio, seeking to better understand the situation and how these issues are being addressed,” the company said.
Sachs allegedly once showed up to a zoom call with female Nike employees while in his underwear, according to a former administrative employee cited in the report. The company’s studio commented to Curbed that these “weekly virtual fittings” were a “normal part of the design process.”
One former studio manager told Curbed, “It’s almost as if he goes out of his way to sow discomfort and pawns it off as if he’s a genius. It’s like a ruse. So many people out there know that he’s cruel, but the art world is tiny and no one gives a shit.”
Nike first partnered with Sachs in 2012 for the launch of the NikeCraft Mars Yard 1.0 sneakers and has since produced a series of high-heat releases with the artist. Most recently, the two entities released a General Purpose Shoe at a more accessible price point.
According to a Wednesday report from Complex, Nike altered the packaging for its NikeCraft Mars Yard 2.0 shoe collaboration with Sachs in 2017 and removed the words “work like a slave” from the lid of the box before the shoes launched.