Breaking: Nike Issue Statement on Tom Sachs Alleged ‘Scary’ Workplace Culture
Content warning: this news article contains subject matter readers may find distressing (sexual assault, harassment, workplace violence).
This article was originally published on March 14, 2023.
Update March 16, 2023: Nike have officially issued a statement on Tom Sachs hostile workplace allegations. 'We're deeply concerned by the very serious allegations. We're in contact with Tom and his studio seeking to better understand this situation and how these issues are being addressed', a Nike spokesperson told Complex.
New York artist and frequent Nike collaborator Tom Sachs has been accused of creating a ‘destabilising’ and ‘scary’ workplace culture, according to a report by Curbed published on Monday.
In the expose, Curbed spoke with over a dozen former employees. Almost all of the employees requested anonymity due to fear of retaliation and nondisclosure agreements.
According to the report, Tom Sachs is accused of labelling a storage room the ‘rape room’ (later relabelled as a ‘consent room’), throwing objects and screaming at employees. The report also alleges that Sachs frequently made comments about employees’ appearance and sex life.,
‘I saw him throw a sheet of steel across the room because someone had left it in the wrong place, and it almost hit a tank of welding gas. And when I went to the studio manager to say, “Hey, he threw something toward me,” her response was, “Well, at least he didn’t throw it at you; he used to throw stuff at people,” a fabricator reported to Curbed.
Several former assistants quote Sachs using ableist language like ‘retarded’, ‘bitch’ and ‘autistic’ to describe them. It’s also alleged that Sachs called into a Zoom meeting with female Nike employees in his underwear.
‘It’s almost as if he goes out of his way to sow discomfort and pawns it off as if he’s a genius’, one former employee stated in the piece. ‘It’s a ruse. So many people out there know that he’s cruel, but the art world is tiny, and no one gives a shit.’
Tom Sachs and Nike celebrated 10 years of NikeCraft in 2022. In 2012, the Nike Mars Yard was launched, followed by the Mars Yard 2.0 in 2017. In 2022, Tom Sachs and Nike launched the General Purpose Shoe, which has seen several colourways and restocks since.
Tom Sachs declined to be interviewed for the story. A spokesperson for the studio ‘denied almost all of the allegations’.