adidas has issued a statement saying it is investigating claims that Russian designer and photographer Gosha Rubchinskiy, 34, engaged in inappropriate contact with a minor. Rubchinskiy has worked with adidas since 2017.
An adidas spokesperson told Sole Collector that the brand takes "any allegation of this nature extremely seriously" and that it is "currently looking into the claim that has been made."
In a statement given to Highsnobiety, Rubchinskiy's team refuted accusations that the designer attempted to solicit inappropriate images of a 16-year-old boy after Diet Prada released what appeared to be screenshots of Whatsapp and Instagram conversations between the designer and the boy.
Rubchinskiy's team claims the conversation shared online was part of a street casting and had been modified before being shared online.
"Gosha has been doing casting by Instagram for many years now," the Rubchinskiy team's statement reads. "It is a normal practice nowadays. We always ask [for] face photos, in full length and topless. Sometimes photos in underwear are required in order to understand the volume of hips. After the person [is] confirmed by us, we contact him officially by email. If it is [a] teenager, then we begin to communicate with his parents."
Responding to an earlier statement given by the Rubchinskiy camp to Hypebeast to deny the accusations, the teenager has said he was unaware of being part of any casting process and felt uncomfortable when asked for photographs.
The Rubchinskiy team's statement adds that it sometimes receives what it calls "strange messages" and "inappropriate photos" via DM. "We immediately block these people and delete all inappropriate photos. Sometimes, if the person begins to behave strangely, we block him too," the statement continues.
Describing the recent incident as a "planned provocation" and saying the designer "has nothing to hide," the Rubchinskiy camp's statement describes what happened as follows: "There is no bad thing and he communicated openly with [the] guy on communication video. Gosha asks to send photos necessary for casting.
"During dialogue and on the next day, the boy begins to behave strangely, erases his messages and begins to call up Gosha again persistently. As a response, Gosha blocks this guy. In the consequence on screenshots and video, we see discussion pulled out of context with many erased parts, so that [the] dialogue loses any sense."
In addition to Diet Prada's Instagram posts, the allegations also surfaced on the High Fashion Talk (HFT) group on Facebook. The HFT Instagram account also posted screenshots and a video of Rubchinskiy and the teenager FaceTiming.
The age of consent in Russia is 16, but possession of nude or provocative photos of anyone under 18 is considered child pornography.
All posts have been deleted from Rubchinskiy's Instagram, but the account is still live.
Updates to follow as details emerge.