Nazis and skinheads were rapper and fashion designer Kanye West's biggest inspiration for his Yeezy Season 9 collection, a Yeezy employee revealed to Rolling Stone.
These remarks were the latest in a long line of controversies surrounding antisemitism, conspiracy theories and seemingly professed adoration towards the Nazis and Adolf Hitler that have beleaguered the former-billionaire rapper.
As one staffer told Rolling Stone, "It’s a point of inspiration for him because I think there’s so much pain that comes from that place, especially for Black people," noting that West essentially took ownership over it by making money off it.
"It’s a point of inspiration for him because I think there’s so much pain that comes from that place, especially for Black people."Former Kanye West staffer
Kanye West, antisemitism and alleged Nazi admiration
West, once the richest and most successful music artist in the world until his partnership with Adidas ended, has been embroiled in a number of controversies regarding antisemitism.
In West’s recent appearance on the Drink Champs Podcast, he blamed “Jewish Zionists” for the reports that his ex-wife Kim Kardashian and her then-boyfriend Pete Davidson had sexual intercourse next to a fireplace, claimed that “Jewish people have owned the black voice,” and described Disney as a Jewish platform.
In the same Drink Champs podcast, which was removed from Youtube, West also claimed that Jewish people “came into money through the lawyers” divorcing Christians because Catholics refused to do so.
“I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 [sic] on Jewish people,” West said in a tweet on October 9, likely incorrectly referring to a stage in the defense readiness condition of the United States military, or DEFCON 3. “You guys have toyed with me and tried to blackball anyone [who] opposes your agenda.”
In 2018, West paid out a settlement to a former employee, who alleged that West had praised Hitler and Nazis.
Ryder Ripps, a Jewish artist who worked with Kanye for several years, corroborated that West had "some kind of disgusting, hate-filled strange Nazi obsession."
Former TMZ employees said that, during a visit to the studio in 2018 for an interview, West had praised Hitler and Nazis — comments that were not published in the online version of the interview, even though other offensive remarks he made about slavery being a “choice” made it into the final cut.
After that interview, TMZ founder Harvey Levin, who is Jewish, reportedly instructed his staff to “cut out anything related to Jews,” former employees told NBC.
Michael Starr and Andrew Lapin/JTA contributed to this report.