Renowned artist, designer, and Nike collaborator Tom Sachs is facing criticism over allegations of creating a hostile work environment where employees and especially women were subjected to various forms of mental and verbal abuse. According to reporting by Curbed, Sachs is notorious for enforcing a hyper strict list of rules in his SoHo studio, where employees are subject to blow ups and innapropriate behavior creating a hostile environement for some.
Embracing accusations he oversees a cult-like environment, Sachs once told 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.”
In off-the-record interviews with over 12 former employees, many of whom were aware of the studio’s quirky work environment before they signed on, many described their time working with Sachs as “destabilizing” and “scary.”
Employee allegations of abuse include the following:
- Employees were subjected to derogatory language, such as being called “autistic,” “retarded” and “bitch” for violating rules or making mistakes.
- Sachs had a short temper and would throw objects at employees who angered him.
- Inappropriate language was often used to describe women, and Sachs openly made comments about women he viewed as upholding or falling beneath his standards.
- One female employees expressed fear of being alone with Sachs in the studio at night.
- Sachs named a basement storage room “the rape room” before changing it to “the consent room.”
- Sachs at one point decorated the studio wall with a first aid kit adorned with a Swastika, which has since been removed.
- Showing a lack of professional boundaries, Sachs hosted a Zoom meeting with female Nike employees in his underwear,
Sachs’ representative denied all accusations and described them as “not in line with the values of our studio. ”The spokesperson described the work environment as a “rigorous and exacting artist’s studio” that “has fostered high standards and a fast-paced work environment to support a robust output.” Conceding that the studio isn’t a good fit for all, the statement added, “Tom Sachs Studio believes all employees should feel safe and secure in the workplace.”