An Antisemitic Tirade by Kanye West Prompts CAA to Cut Ties with Him

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A major Hollywood agency has stopped representing Kanye West, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West. A person with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly said CAA terminated its relationship with Ye this month because of his recent antisemitic outbursts in various interviews.

CAA is the latest company to sever or stop its association with the rapper due to his comments. The musician, who tweeted he wanted to commit “death con 3” on Jewish people, has also been called on by many top entertainment industry figures including Endeavour CEO Ari Emanuel to cut ties with all companies that work with him.

As Emanuel said in a recent opinion piece in the Financial Times, doing business with West gives his misguided hate an audience. “Anti-Semitism should not be tolerated anywhere in the West,” Emanuel’s call included demands that Parler cease selling to him and that Apple and Spotify cease playing Ye’s music. The right-wing social media platform recently announced an agreement with West to sell the company. As a result of Ye’s repeated dangerous stereotypes during filming, WME clients LeBron James and Maverick Carter canceled an episode of “The Shop: Uninterrupted”, according to Emanuel.

In addition, other Hollywood companies dropped their ties to Ye. Film and TV producer MRC announced Monday that it is not proceeding with its documentary about Ye. “It is dismaying to see leaders and corporations remain silent when it comes to Kanye or antisemitism in general,” said MRC executives. We are unwilling to support any content that broadens his platform, the company said. A distressing new phenomenon is the fear of Jews defending themselves.

In a tweet, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wrote, After years of animosity and division, @POTUS ran to heal the country. In order to facilitate this healing, we must denounce antisemitism anywhere it manifests itself in our culture. These activities in Los Angeles are revolting and should be denounced.” Kim Kardashian, Ye’s ex-wife, came out against anti-Semitic language on Monday morning without explicitly condemning him. 

Ye, previously partnered with J.P. Morgan and the Gap, has ended his business relationships with Balenciaga, the artist’s close fashion collaborator. In addition, Ye’s record deal with longtime label Def Jam has been terminated as well, after he fulfilled the terms of his contract, leaving him a free agent. Ye had been with CAA since 2016, after leaving for UTA for a year in 2015. It was not possible to reach Ye for comment immediately. A former music industry executive and NYU professor, Dan Charnas, is not convinced that companies are cutting ties with West for any reason. He is the author of a bestselling biography on producer J Dilla.

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According to Charnas, companies, and brands focus on looking good, not necessarily being good. Even though Kanye might be a liability for brands now, and there will be more and more people who refuse to do business with him, I’m not very confident that any celebrity in this world of business and information will remain a pariah simply because of moral or ethical concerns.”

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