May 6, 2021 - Open Letter
Recently, some partner designers told me that they have received some anonymous messages; and in these messages there are rumours being spread that YMYX is committing fraud with the intention to sell off the designs that YMYX’s partner designers are providing to us, for a profit.
I first thought that even if these rumours really were being spread, I did not believe our partner designers would ever believe such baseless rumours, because in the contract that we have signed together, it is very clear that if we were ever really to do such a thing, it would amount to a violation of the relevant clauses in our contract that prohibit YMYX from infringing the intellectual property rights of our partner designers; and YMYX will then have to take severe legal and financial penalties. At the same time, I believed in the intelligence of each of our partner designers, and that they would not easily be influenced or swayed by these baseless rumours.
There was even one designer who told me very explicitly that these defamatory statements were in fact started by a particular designer, because they very clearly understood this particular designer’s way of conducting himself. And the designer that they referred to is the very same footwear designer that I had mentioned in a prior open letter sent to all designers, who had previously sexually harassed me and who, behind the scenes, and using means that lack in any kind of professional ethics and morality, obtained the private emails that YMYX had exchanged with the factory we had matched him with for a factory test, including obtaining the contents of the “Non-Disclosure and Manufacturer Evaluation Agreement”, that YMYX had signed with this factory.
The designer who notified me of this strongly asked me to write an open letter to make a clarification of this situation, because a lot of designers had already been negatively impacted by these anonymous comments and now had strong doubts and confusion.
In reality, I did suspect that this designer would act in this way because we had already very clearly told him that his previous actions, which violated professional ethics, had already completely shaken our foundation of trust, and because of this, it would be very difficult for us to find factories we would feel comfortable and at ease to match with him to work with. I expressed this clearly, and in these few months that have followed, even though he has written letters to apologize to me nearly every other day, stating that he has cried so many tears, at the same time, he also has made veiled threats toward me many times in the very same letters that he has sent me. He has intimated more than once in his emails to me that YMYX will not be able to secure factory partners in Italy without him, because in the shoe industry in Italy, he has decisive influence; and even intimated that many designers signed contracts with YMYX only because they were influenced by him to cooperate with us. But in the end, I still chose to believe that even if this designer had created rumors, it would be impossible for our partner designers to be so lightly and easily impacted by these lies that are without basis at all.
Moreover, we are already currently doing factory tests for designer partners, and moving on schedule to conduct market research in China as well, for our partner brands. I really do not have time to write an open letter just to make these unnecessary clarifications, because on the one hand, my work is extremely busy every day, and I also do not want such letters to impact the designer’s time, because they are also very busy preparing for and undergoing the work for market research and factory tests.
But today, I received an email from one of our partner designers and this letter let me feel the seriousness of the situation. In this email, she wrote:
I really did not think that anonymous comments and baseless rumours had actually worked to influence so many others. After reading this email, I was very dismayed and saddened; and I found it hard to believe, because in the communication we have had with this partner designer previously, it has always been very friendly, smooth, and trusting. It was then that I suddenly realized that the letters that I had received from this designer as of late, had changed in tone, and felt quite different from before; it turns out, that this was because she had been influenced by these rumours. To be frank, I felt very pained in my heart that the trust and understanding that we have established after such a long communication, could so easily be broken by unprovoked slander. While feeling pained at this, I also felt helpless, angry and unable to comprehend.
After receiving this letter, I immediately responded as below:
I trust that all designers will agree that this kind of creating and spreading of rumours, should not be tolerated. I want to state clearly here, and make a disclaimer, that at present, we have not confirmed any person in particular, nor do we have yet concrete evidence to prove who is actually spreading these rumors, however, we will as quickly as possible put in our greatest effort to collect relevant evidence, and I hope that any designer who hears or receives these kinds of rumours, no matter if they are anonymous or known, or sees them online, if you are willing to, then please forward these comments to us. We also pledge that we will keep confidential your sharing.
Once we have enough concrete evidence, we will take legal action against any person who is making rumours and defamation.
I hereby solemnly vow, that the content of the email that I wrote to this designer above, and the promises I have made therein, are also promises that I give to any of our partner designers, or those who are waiting to sign the contract, or even those designers who we did not go forward with but who had submitted designs to us in the past, and these promises of mine will be forever valid.
I also want to say that for those designers who have been impacted by the rumours or comments of anonymous designers or any other designers, and who themselves as a result have spread a rumour in the past, we will not chase the legal responsibility in these cases.
But today, after I post this open letter, if there are still designers who without having any evidence, continue to create rumours or spread them, defame our company, or myself, then no matter whose influence it may have been that caused this action, we will reasonably believe that this designer is acting on purpose to spread rumours, and we will definitely not tolerate these actions.
Finally, I also want to warn those who are creating rumours, please don’t assume that just because you are doing so anonymously, and you have blocked your IP address, that you can avoid legal responsibility. In today’s modern and technologically savvy world, these kinds of despicable behavior will definitely be discovered, and we will spare no effort; we will find the IP address and where the rumours are being sent, and use lawful methods to prove who the owner of the IP address is, and bring those who spread and create false rumours to receive their judgement before the law, I swear it.
English is the official version of my text.