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Well, Damn — After 11 Years Nike and Tom Sachs Part Ways

jascmeen contributor

Image via Esquire Middle East

Allegations of alleged abuse are allegedly to blame. (Gonna throw in as much *ALLEGED* as I can. Don't sue me, pls!)

The drama started back in February when an anonymous job listing was rumored to be connected to Tom Sachs and his wife. The tasks were numerous, ruthless, vague, and all-consuming.

Presented as an executive assistant role, the job listing was riddled with red flags. You can read the post in its entirety here via Filthy Dreams, but here are a few lowlights:

Must have the ability to seamlessly juggle multiple priorities in a dynamic, unstructured environment and possess flexibility to change course at a moment’s notice. The ideal candidate must be dedicated to a simple goal: make life easier for the couple in every way possible.

Other tasks include: maintaining the couple’s garden, reorganizing their library, putting together decks for their work personal projects, social media content creation, managing all medical needs, closet organization, and the usual errand running on top of all that.

Oh, they’re also looking for someone with a four year degree and proficiency in Photoshop Illustrator. The salary range is $65,000 - $95,000 and based in NY. ::side eye::

After going viral and the job post ultimately being taken down, a former employee of Tom Sachs came forward with abuse allegations after working in the artist’s studio. As revealed in his short film Ten Bullets, which also serves as an employee manual of sorts, Sachs has a LOT of rules for his studio that include everything from placing all items at either 90 degrees or parallel, responding to commands with “I understand” or “I don’t understand,” walking quietly, and wearing matching overcoats. Yes, there’s even Ten Bullets merch on SSENSE.

Image via Alex Antitich / Curbed Image via Alex Antitich / Curbed

According to a lengthy expose by Curbed, “Employees have been known to work out in a program called Space Camp three times a week at 7 a.m., wearing uniforms printed with their first initial, last name, and the serial numbers Sachs assigned them.”

Sound like a cult? Well, it seems like that was Sachs’ intent. Hell, he called it a cult to GQ, “This place is a cult, and I mean that in the scariest, most Manson-family kind of way, in that we’re totally committed to this way of life.”

Allegations from former employees include the following:

  • Emotional abuse

  • Having things thrown at them

  • Sachs referring to his storage room in the basement as the “rape room”then later calling it the “consent room” — which his studio says was just a joke

  • Wearing only his underwear (including on a Zoom call with Nike)

  • Commenting openly on employees bodies and his type

  • Constant talk of sex and porn

  • A swastika covering a first aid kit, shown in the image above. Sachs' studio credited that to the artist's desire to reclaim the symbol as a proud Jewish person. It was later removed.

Nine days after the allegations surfaced (and went viral), Tom sent out an email to his staff which he later published as an open letter. In it he describes a new commitment to a better studio culture and regrets that anyone ever felt less than safe in his employ.

Highsnobiety was the first to report that the relationship between Nike and Tom Sachs had come to a close, though neither party detailed the exact cause. Nike’s statement was clear and concise, “We are not working with Tom’s studio at this time and have no release dates planned." Tom Sachs and his studio did not comment.

The Nike statement was likely intentionally hazy, meaning there could be potential Tom Sachs partnerships in the future. For now it seems the longstanding relationship is done. As for the current state of his “fun cult,” who’s to say.

#sneakers, #nike