According to multiple news media sites, Adidas this week named Cambodian former garment worker and trade union leader Vay Ya Nak Phoan as Co-CEO to oversee the company’s social and environmental responsibility strategy.
But it was a hoax (that admittedly almost had Inside Retail fooled for a few hours).
The fake release was allegedly sent from the brand’s headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany, saying it had appointed Phoan to work alongside recently-appointed Bjorn Gulden, CEO at Adidas AG.
The announcement also said the pair had signed the Pay Your Works agreement – a binding commitment to fair labour practices, wages and compensation in the supply chain, including “making an immediate payment of €11.2 million (US$12.1 million) in wages to Cambodian workers whose wages were withheld by suppliers during the pandemic and ensuring all workers, union members and union leaders fired from both Trax Apparel in Cambodia and the Pou Chen factory in Myanmar are reinstated with full back pay”.
The release was even posted on a URL that links to a fake site that featured the same media content displayed on the official Adidas media page. According to WWD, the release was created by a culture activist The Yes Men and sent from a bogus Adidas account.
The German sporting goods maker put under review its business partnership with rapper and fashion designer Kanye West in November.