The UFC has officially entered a new era, with the Venum apparel deal beginning this weekend. However in a case of unfortunate timing, it seems that Venum CEO Franck Dupuis is facing some less than great accusations from his employees.
Dupuis is the CEO and founder of Venum, the French company which has provided apparel and combat sports gear for a decade and a half. He began the company in 2006, alongside Jean-François Bandet whom he knew from his time working with IBM, and it has since grown into one of the most recognizable brands in the sport of MMA.
The profile of Venum recently saw a massive boost, when it was revealed that they partnered with the UFC to be the sole apparel sponsor for the premier mixed marital arts organization in the world. Earlier this week we got to see the new uniforms they created, and they will officially go into effect this weekend, at UFC on ABC 2.
Accusations of Racism, Sexism, and Bullying
The dust has barely settled on this new UFC and Venum deal, but already there is a cloud of controversy surrounding the apparel company. Not because of any flaws from their design rollouts, although they were met with mixed reviews, but instead revolving around CEO and founder Franck Dupuis.
According to reports, 21 current and former employees of Venum have levied some serious accusations against their boss. Apparently all of these employees have a variety of tales to tell about Franck, ranging from vaguely sexist behaviors to outright racist accusations.
Two employees say that Dupuis made it clear that he wanted to change his demographic by having women that were referred to as “bimbos” sporting the gear. On top of that, he supposedly attempted to do what he could to prevent lower class people from being able to afford their gear.
”Frank Dupuis told me that he didn’t like Arabs,” says Paul, a former white employee who sold MMA shorts with military or fluorescent prints for two and a half years.
The allegations go on to say that when Venum was discussing a gym, Dupuis brought up the discussion of entrance fees. According to the employees, he wanted to make these fees so high that groups of people he deemed unsavory could not attend.
In addition to that, further accusations say that Franck passed by four black employees and a North African employee having lunch. He reportedly remarked that “It smells like Africa here.”
These concerning accusations continue further with Franck Dupuis supposedly making disparaging remarks about Hispanic people and Muslims. After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, he blamed Chinese people, mocking models of Asian decent by asking if they were doing kung-fu.
Franck Dupuis Denies Allegations
The same report also spoke to Franck Dupuis about the accusations being levied against him. It is important to note that he adamantly denies any of the wrongdoing that it is being suggested he is responsible for, citing the donations he send to Africa, along with his mother’s Algerian decent as proof that he is not of a racist mindset.
“Our wealth is our variety and diversity. That’s what enriches us,” he said.
That said, the accusations against Dupuis range beyond that of a racist nature. He is also being accused of making disbarring remarks against women, calling them cows and purposely undersizing his women’s apparel so that larger women can not wear them.
On top of that, it has been said that he has a nature of bullying employees in the workplace, enticing them to act in malicious ways and step on each other to succeed. Multiple employees felt that even if they gave their all to their jobs, it was never enough, with him taking drastic measures against people showing up to work late, or having extenuating circumstances.
Further accounts are that Dupuis also encourages his supervisors to endorse and back up his behavior, supporting him even when he treats employees poorly. These employees state that there is an element of fear that if they do not comply, they will be fired from their positions.
All in all, these are less than stellar accusations against Franck Dupuis, and they do not paint him in a positive light. On the other hand, he denies the truth behind these allegations, so that is important to keep in mind too.