Kanye West used offensive phrases about Jewish people, ex-business partner claims

Television film and eight-part podcast will delve into the antisemitic remarks made by Ye in the past year, as well as his hopes to run for the US presidency

Nicole Vassell
Wednesday 28 June 2023 00:01 BST
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Kanye West will be the subject of a new documentary that investigates his instances of making antisemitic remarks and his 2024 presidential campaign.

The Trouble with KanYe, presented by Mobeen Azhar, details some fresh, first-hand accusations of the rapper and entrepreneur making offensive comments relating to Jewish people.

West, also known as Ye, faced significant backlash in 2022 after making crude remarks on Twitter as well as sharing antisemitic conspiracy theories and claiming that he’d been “blocked” by the “Jewish media”.

The “Touch the Sky” rapper’s deal with Adidas for his Yeezy footwear line crumbled soon after he made his social media comments, which is said to have lost him $1.6bn of his net worth overnight. Balenciaga also severed ties with West, and Vogue and Anna Wintour said that they had no interest in working with him again.

In the documentary, Ye’s former business partner and friend, the entrepreneur Alex Klein, speaks about the fallout that followed West’s outbursts and used offensive turns of phrase directly against him.

“We turned down 10 million dollars. Kanye was very angry, you know, he was saying ‘I feel like I wanna smack you’ and ‘You’re exactly like the other Jews’ – almost relishing and revelling in how offensive he could be, using these phrases hoping to hurt me.”

Kanye West
Kanye West (AFP via Getty Images)

Klein continued: “I asked him and I said, ‘Do you really think Jews are working together to hold you back?’ and he said ‘Yes, yes I do but it’s not even a statement that I need to take back because look at all the energy around me right now. Without that statement, I wouldn’t become president’.”

Ye has also long expressed his hopes of becoming the president of the United States, having run unsuccessfully in 2020. He announced his 2024 campaign in November.

The film features Azhar visiting a church that West frequents, the Cornerstone Christian Church in California, and meets an unhoused man who claims to have been asked by the rapper to lead his campaign strategy.

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The man, named Mark, is not known to have had any experience in campaign management. “They all said I was the most religiously erudite in the room and Kanye started looking to me for my opinion on every topic that came up,” he explains.

“He called me the following Monday, the Monday before Thanksgiving, and the first thing he said to me was ‘I want you to be my Campaign Manager to run for President’.”

The Independent has reached out to a representative of Ye for comment.

The Trouble with KanYe airs on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer on Wednesday 28 June at 9pm.

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