Ye paid compensation to former employee who claimed to have praised Hitler and Nazis at meetings, documents show
LOS ANGELES — Artist Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has paid a settlement to a former employee who alleged the rapper and designer used anti-Semitic language in the workplace, according to documents reviewed by NBC News.
Additionally, six people who have worked with Ye or seen him in a professional setting over the past five years told NBC News they had heard him mention conspiracy theories about Jewish people or make praise of Hitler. Three of those people were former employees or collaborators and said they recalled several instances of Ye using anti-Semitic language. The other three said they recalled a 2018 incident in which Ye launched an anti-Semitic tirade during an interview at the TMZ offices.
Their accounts, along with the settlement, suggest that Ye used this language for years in more instances than was previously known to the public, long before his recent anti-Semitic comments in interviews and online came to light, which has loses a wave of business. offers.
Ryder Ripps, a concept artist who worked with Ye on and off from 2014 to 2018, said he remembered many times when Ye spoke positively about Hitler and the Nazis or mentioned anti-Jewish conspiracies in meetings at the summer and fall of 2018. Ripps, who is Jewish, said he pushed back against Ye’s comments at the time, but thought they “didn’t seem so dangerous.” After Ye’s latest flurry of statements, however, Ripps said he sees things differently. “It’s dangerous, disgusting and actually violent,” he said.
“With this pattern happening and with the doubling and tripling of it all, it’s pretty obvious that this is some kind of disgusting, hateful, weird Nazi obsession,” Ripps said.
In the settlement reviewed by NBC News, Ye paid a former employee who claimed to have witnessed more than one incident in which Ye praised Hitler or Nazis at business meetings. Ye denied the claims made by the former employee in the agreement.
The former employee spoke on condition of anonymity as they had signed a nondisclosure agreement. NBC News is withholding certain details of the settlement to protect the person’s anonymity, but has reviewed the settlement along with other correspondence and proof of payment the former employee said he received.
Representatives for Ye did not respond to requests for comment.
Last Thursday, CNN reported that a corporate executive who worked for Ye accused him of creating a hostile work environment out of an “obsession” with Hitler and secured a settlement. NBC News has not confirmed this settlement, which appears to be separate from the case of the former employee who shared settlement documents with NBC News.
Ye has recently made a series of remarks referencing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and targeting Jews, including on social media and in interviews with Chris Cuomo, Fox News and the Drink Champs podcast. These comments included repeated attacks on “Jewish media” – citing the anti-Semitic claim that Jews disproportionately control the media – and Jews in general. In an interview with Piers Morgan, Ye apologized “for the pain I caused and the confusion I caused.” A few days later, however, Ye doubled down on his earlier anti-Semitic remarks in an interview with MIT researcher Lex Fridman. On Friday, Ye continued to echo anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in a conversation with paparazzi, pulling out a spreadsheet that he said highlighted Jewish media executives in red.
In the past, the media and other onlookers have struggled to know what to make of some of Ye’s statements, such as when he repeatedly launched public attacks on his ex-wife Kim Kardashian and her boyfriend from the time, Pete Davidson, in February. Ye has spoken openly about having bipolar disorder in the past, after being hospitalized in 2016.
At times, however, Ye disavowed the diagnosis. During her White House meeting in 2018 with then-President Donald Trump, Ye called her bipolar diagnosis a “misdiagnosis”, saying another doctor said her mental health issues stemmed from sleep deprivation. In his recent interview with Fridman, Ye said the doctor who diagnosed him was Jewish and suggested the diagnosis was “a control mechanism.”
Ye’s recent words have caused a cascade of consequences for the artist.
On October 20, Balenciaga severed ties with Ye, who had opened the fashion house’s show in September. On October 25, Adidas ended its partnership with Ye and its Yeezy brand, joining Difference, Foot locker and other brands that have severed commercial relations with him.
Three of Ye’s six former colleagues who spoke to NBC News said they remembered him using language glorifying Hitler or targeting Jews repeatedly as early as seven years before his last wave of public anti-Semitism.
Ripps said Ye repeatedly echoed conspiracy theories and glorified Hitler and the Nazis.
“He had told me a lot of bullshit about ‘Nazis being good at propaganda,'” Ripps said, recalling several instances in which he said Ye had asserted, “‘Jews have codes. “”. Ripps recalled a 2018 interaction in which he said Ye asked, “‘You’re not offended like I’m interested in Nazis or something,'” in reference to an aggrieved Jewish employee. “He said a lot of stuff like ‘Jews have the codes’.”
Ripps said he pushed back against Ye’s statements at the time, telling him, “You’re wrong,” but Ye didn’t respond.
“There’s a line and I think he’s crossed,” Ripps said. “I honestly think he’s been through it with his current actions and beyond, just how offensive, how offensive those words are. Because I’ve seen an upsurge of people like attacking me personally. .like calling me a Jew on Instagram and Twitter.”
Ripps said he thinks anti-Semites have become emboldened following Ye’s public statements about Jewish people. In recent weeks, messages expressing support for Ye’s anti-Semitic statements have appeared on a Los Angeles freeway and at a college football game.
One of Ye’s former employees, who worked with him for three years, told NBC News that they also saw Ye praising Hitler and the Nazis in a casual chat, saying they remembered that he had mentioned Hitler several times.
“I feel like he was just kind of like looking around, like seeing, how do people react?” said the ex-employee. “He would say ‘I even love Hitler’ and then he would like to pause for reactions.”
The former employee spoke on condition of anonymity because he signed multiple nondisclosure agreements while working with Ye. The former employee said he lost count of the number of non-disclosure agreements he personally signed during his tenure at the company. Three other employees also noted that Ye asked them to sign more than one NDA.
The former employee said Ye had praised Hitler in 2018 during a meeting on a clothing project. Ye said Hitler “had good qualities” and “he wasn’t that bad,” the employee said.
“He would kind of frame things as questions to ask people their opinion on something, but then he would go really tough and aggressive about, like, what he thought about it and about really fair topics that would bother people, like there were always people visibly upset,” the former employee said.
Another of the six people who spoke to NBC News recalled several instances dating back to 2019 where Ye referenced anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, blaming Jews for certain events and comparing himself to Hitler.
In a 2021 episode of the Drink Champs podcast, Ye also appeared to position himself as close to Hitler, describing a long-running feud with Drake and saying, “When people went to get Hitler, they didn’t go straight to Hitler, they put fake tanks.” Ye seemed to compare Drake to the “shadow army” of Allied forces during World War II, which used inflatable tanks to trick Hitler.
On October 11, Van Lathan, a former TMZ podcast host and producer, recounted another instance of Ye’s anti-Semitic language.
In an episode of the Higher Learning podcast, Lathan said that during a 2018 TMZ Live interview, Ye said he loved Hitler and the Nazis. Lathan pointed out that these comments were not published online. According to Lathan, the statement caused a confrontation between a TMZ producer and Ye, who was ultimately cut from the published segment.
Representatives for TMZ did not respond to a request for comment.
Three former TMZ employees said they remember Ye’s statements about Nazis and Hitler and the ensuing confrontation. The former employees asked to remain anonymous, citing nondisclosure agreements, unrelated to this specific incident, that they say they signed with TMZ.
Two of TMZ’s former employees said a Jewish producer stood up to confront Ye about his remarks about Nazis and Hitler.
One of these former employees said that the only response they remembered from Ye was that he smiled.
After the interview, “Harvey put the speaker on and said ‘nobody’s doing anything, everybody’s just sitting there, nobody’s doing anything with any job,'” one of the three alumni said. employees who worked as a production assistant, referring to the founder of TMZ. Harvey Levin. The former employee later said he was ordered “not to post Jewish stuff” by a colleague who cited a directive from Levin.
Another of the three former employees said, “Harvey came back to the editing bay and said, cut everything Jewish, to this type of anti-Semitism.”
“I would like to keep the pictures.”