The rapper/designer has widely been condemned across the industries he influences for increasingly erratic behavior and antisemitic comments — but will the end of 2022 signal the end of Kanye West?
Ye has long defined his career through a mixture of smash hits and celebrity theatrics, with his genius in the former primarily able to overshadow his penchant for the latter. But when his behavior went from quirky and rude to racist and antisemitic, one business after another began to sever ties with Kanye West. Below is a timeline of the controversy and the resulting fallout.
Kanye was disinvited from performing at the Grammy Awards for “erratic and troubling public behavior in recent weeks.”
While not specified, that behavior included releasing an animated music video portraying the kidnapping and burial of a Pete Davidson-looking figure while the comedian was dating West’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian. Around the same time, Kanye made an Instagram post taunting comedian and then-host of The Daily Show Trevor Noah (who hosted the Grammys this year) with a racial slur. That post resulted in West being banned from Instagram for 24 hours.
Less than two weeks before the first weekend of Coachella 2022, Kanye withdrew from his headlining spot without explanation. Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd replaced him.
Ye notified Gap that he was terminating their highly-anticipated partnership and would move ahead with plans to open his own store. Gap’s statement in response said that their visions were “not aligned.”
Ye surprised the fashion world by holding an off-schedule show at Paris Fashion Week to present his latest collection under his label YZY, formerly Yeezy. The rapper began his presentation with a speech in which he complained about his critics.
However, his decision to wear a “White Lives Matter” shirt to the event sparked the most controversy for the phrase’s connection to white supremacists in opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement. The shirt ended up being a part of the collection, and conservative commentator Candace Owens accompanied him while also wearing one.
Ye appeared in an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson in which he defended his “White Lives Matter” shirt and that he “thought the idea” of wearing it was funny.
Ye took to Twitter to post antisemitic remarks, including that he would go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.” Twitter removed the posts, and his account was suspended for violating the platform’s policies.
The social media comments led to Adidas announcing it had placed its relationship with Yeezy “under review.” At the same time, Balenciaga and Vogue Runway silently deleted pictures and videos of him from their recent runway show in Paris. Vogue magazine also said it would no longer be working with him.
LeBron James-hosted talk show The Shop says it won’t air an episode featuring Ye because he used the platform to “reiterate more hate speech and extremely dangerous stereotypes.”
During an interview on the Drink Champs podcast, Ye repeatedly accused “Jewish media” and “Jewish Zionists” of feeding a media frenzy and canceling his shows. He also made false statements about the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This interview is the one in which Ye infamously asserts that he “can say antisemitic things, and Adidas can’t drop me.” The episode is later removed.
Parlement Technologies, the parent company of social media service Parler, said Ye would acquire the platform for an undisclosed sum of money. Parlement CEO George Farmer is the husband of Candace Owens, the conservative commentator previously seen with West at his Paris Fashion Week show.
Ye also spoke with former CNN host Chris Cuomo that same day, in which the rapper says he doesn’t “believe in the term antisemitism” and claims he is being attacked by “the Jewish underground media mafia.”
George Floyd’s family begins preparations to sue Ye for $250 million for the “blatantly false and malicious” claims made during the Drink Champs episode.
Balenciaga’s parent company, Kering, announced that “Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor plans for any future projects related to this artist.” Creative Artists Agency announced no longer representing Kanye. The film and television studio MRC announced it would shelve a completed documentary about the rapper.
Ye gave a 100-minute interview with Piers Morgan in which he doubles down on his antisemitic comments and says he’s “absolutely not sorry.”
An antisemitic hate group reportedly held banners over a busy Los Angeles freeway that read, “Kanye is right about the Jews.” Many political leaders and celebrities spoke out, condemning the group’s actions.
Ye spoke with MIT research scientist Lex Fridman and made more antisemitic statements, specifically slamming “Jewish record labels.” Ye’s ex-wife Kim Kardashian shared a statement on social media condemning hate speech without mentioning Ye. Other Kardashian-Jenner family members share similar statements in support of the Jewish community.
Camille Vasquez, the attorney who represented Johnny Depp during the Amber Heard defamation trial, announced she would no longer be working with Ye just days after Ye had reportedly hired her.
Adidas announced after weeks of pressure that it would end its nearly decade-long partnership with Ye — a move the company said would cost it $246 million this year. Forbes reported that the partnership accounted for $1.5 billion of Kanye’s net worth; without it, he would lose his billionaire status.
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said that despite Ye’s “just awful” comments, they would not remove the rapper’s music from the platform because it did not violate Spotify’s anti-hate policies.
The organizers of two prominent high school boys’ basketball tournaments revoked invitations for Ye’s Donda Academy team to play in national showcases. Donda Academy, the private school founded by West last year in Simi Valley, California, was named for his late mother, Donda West, and is not accredited.
Additionally, footwear company Skechers said the same day that Ye had been escorted from its corporate offices in Los Angeles after an “unannounced and uninvited” visit.
Instagram restricted Ye’s account just days after reinstating him, while Instagram’s parent company, Meta, also said it deleted West’s content that it found violated the platform’s policies.
Ye returned to an Elon Musk-owned Twitter with a post to see if his account was unblocked.
Donald Trump hosted a dinner with Ye and known white supremacist Nick Fuentes at Trump’s private club in Florida. Ye traveled to Mar-a-Lago to meet with Trump and reportedly brought Nick Fuentes with him.
Parlement Technologies announced that Ye was no longer buying the platform but did not specify why. Ye appeared on Infowars conspiracy broadcaster Alex Jones’ podcast, stating, “I see good things about Hitler.”
Elon Musk said Ye would be suspended from Twitter again after tweeting an image of a swastika inside the Star of David, which Musk said violated the platform’s rule against the incitement of violence.
Ye appeared with Nick Fuentes in an interview series with hate group Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes, in which Ye said Jewish people should “forgive Hitler” and “should work for Christians.”
Audio chat room platform Clubhouse suspended Ye after the rapper made antisemitic remarks during a private interview.