Last week, CNN ran a piece about Kanye West’s years-long “fascination” with Adolf Hitler and Nazis. While Kanye’s misogyny, bigotry, bullying, ignorance and anti-Blackness has been well known for years, his antisemitism has felt “new” to us in the past two months. That’s because there were people in Kanye’s orbit who were actively covering up his antisemitism. Media outlets like TMZ and Fox News were editing his antisemitism out of their reporting and their interviews with him, and Kanye’s people were desperately trying to keep a lid on his antisemitic bigotry for years. Just how bad was it? Well, NBC News has a new report about how Kanye paid a settlement to a former employee. Many of Kanye’s now-former employees all have similar stories about Kanye’s hate speech:
Ye, the artist previously known as Kanye West, paid a settlement to a former employee who alleged that the rapper and designer had used antisemitic language in the workplace, according to documents reviewed by NBC News.
Additionally, six people who have worked with Ye or witnessed him in professional settings over the past five years told NBC News that they had heard him mention conspiracy theories about Jewish people or praise Hitler. Three of those people were former employees or collaborators and said they recalled multiple instances of Ye using antisemitic language. The other three people said they recalled a 2018 incident in which Ye went on an antisemitic tirade during an interview at TMZ’s offices.
Their accounts, as well as the settlement, suggest that Ye has used such language for years in more instances than previously known to the public, well before his recent antisemitic comments in interviews and online came to light, resulting in him losing a wave of business deals.
Ryder Ripps, a conceptual artist who worked with Ye on and off from 2014 to 2018, said he recalled multiple times when Ye spoke positively about Hitler and the Nazis or mentioned anti-Jewish conspiracies during meetings in the summer and fall of 2018. Ripps, who is Jewish, said he pushed back on Ye’s comments at the time but thought they “didn’t seem that dangerous.” After Ye’s most recent wave of statements, though, Ripps said he sees things differently. “This is dangerous, and disgusting, and actually violent,” he said.
“With this pattern that’s happening and with the doubling and tripling down of all this, it’s pretty obvious that this is some kind of disgusting, hate-filled, strange Nazi obsession,” Ripps said.
In the settlement reviewed by NBC News, Ye paid a former employee who alleged witnessing more than one incident in which Ye praised Hitler or Nazis in business meetings. Ye denied the claims made by the former employee in the agreement. The former employee spoke on the condition of anonymity because they had signed a nondisclosure agreement. NBC News is withholding certain details about the settlement to protect the person’s anonymity but reviewed the settlement along with other correspondence and proof of the payment the former employee said they had received.
“Ripps, who is Jewish, said he pushed back on Ye’s comments at the time but thought they ‘didn’t seem that dangerous.’” This is what I keep getting stuck on – it was apparently an open secret for everyone in Kanye’s life, the fact that he’s antisemitic on top of everything else. His family, his business partners, his employees couldn’t keep a lid on his misogyny, his anti-Blackness, his bigotry, but they managed to keep his antisemitism hidden for years. And why was that? Because it “didn’t seem that dangerous”? Eh. It’s truly weird – like, incredibly f–king strange – that absolutely none of this came out while Kanye was “running for president” in 2020. Remember his ratf–ker campaign? Remember how the Republican Party was openly colluding with Kanye in an attempt to poach Black people away from voting for Democrats? Remember all of the discussions on CNN and Fox News about Kanye’s campaign? Weird how journalists never thought to do the most basic research into Kanye, you know, like, talk to his former employees about why they left?
Photos courtesy of Backgrid, screencap courtesy of Fox News.