According to a new NBC News report, the rapper, who goes by Ye, paid a settlement to a former worker who claimed to have witnessed him praising Adolf Hitler and Nazis in work meetings. West — who has faced fallout in recent weeks in the wake of new antisemitic comments — denied the claims in the settlement agreement, which was obtained by the news outlet.
The outlet spoke to that former employee as well as six additional people who worked with or dealt with West in a professional setting, and they told NBC News they heard West praise Hitler or discuss conspiracy theories about Jewish people as many as seven years ago. Of the six, three were former employees or collaborators and three were present when West allegedly confessed his love for the German dictator during a 2018 TMZ interview.
One of those to go on the record was conceptual artist Ryder Ripps, who worked with West between 2014 and 2018. Ripps, who is Jewish, recalled multiple occasions when the performer/clothing designer praised Hitler during meetings.
"He had told me a bunch of s*** about, like, how 'Nazis are good at propaganda,'" Ripps told the outlet. He also recalled Ye asking, "'You’re not offended that, like, I’m interested in Nazis or something?'" while referring to a Jewish employee who was. He also claimed West frequently said, "Jews have the codes."
Ripp said he would push back at West's comments, but didn't think they were dangerous. However, in light of West's recent antisemitic comments, "With this pattern that’s happening and with the doubling and tripling down of all this, it’s pretty obvious that this is some kind of disgusting, hate-filled, strange Nazi obsession."
Another former employee, who was unidentified but worked with West for three years, said West would randomly say things like, "I even love Hitler," and then look around the room to see how people were reacting. The former employee said that in a 2018 meeting, West said Hitler "had some good qualities" and that "he wasn’t all bad."
Three former TMZ employees recalled West's statements about Nazis and Hitler — and spoke about the the confrontation with a Jewish producer that followed. One of the former TMZ staffers said the only response from West they remembered was the "Gold Digger" singer smiling. They claimed they were instructed by TMZ head Harvey Levin not to post any of West's antisemitic comments on the website.
West's rep did not comment on the claims to NBC News for the report. (West has changed his representation several times over the last few weeks.)
This is the second report of this kind of settlement in the last week. Last Thursday, CNN reported that a business executive who worked with West accused him of creating a hostile work environment through an "obsession" with Hitler, and also received a settlement.
“He would praise Hitler by saying how incredible it was that he was able to accumulate so much power and would talk about all the great things he and the Nazi Party achieved for the German people,” the unidentified person told that outlet.
West has publicly made a string of antisemitic remarks over the last month — including accusing Jews of a "Holocaust" against Black Americans. It began when West wore a "White Lives Matter" T-shirt, a slogan associated with white supremacists, to the YZY show at Paris Fashion Week on Oct. 3. Soon after, his Instagram and Twitter accounts were restricted after he posted about his intention to go "death [sic] con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE."
West's Adidas deal was subsequently terminated, reportedly costing him $2 billion. CAA dropped him as a client, Balenciaga cut ties with him, Gap scurried to remove products from their former deal from stores. His music streams and airplay took a nosedive, and his Donda Academy closed. He's been defiant amid the business cancellations, saying, "We here, baby. We ain’t going nowhere."