Several people who were once close to the artist formerly known as Kanye West have told CNN he has long had a fascination with Adolf Hitler — and that he wants to name an album one day after the Nazi leader.
A corporate executive who worked for West, now called Ye, told CNN the entertainer created a hostile work environment, in part because of his “obsession” with Hitler.
“He would praise Hitler saying how amazing it was that he was able to amass so much power and talk about all the great things he and the Nazi Party did for the German people,” the statement said. individual at CNN.
The executive quit and reached a settlement with West and some of his companies over workplace complaints, including harassment, which CNN reviewed. The former executive asked not to be named due to a confidentiality agreement and fear of retaliation from West. Under the agreement, West denied the executive’s allegations.
The executive told CNN that West spoke openly about reading “Mein Kampf,” Hitler’s 1925 autobiographical manifesto and expressed his “admiration” for the Nazis and Hitler for their use of propaganda.
This individual said people in West’s inner circle were “fully aware” of his interest in Hitler. Four sources told CNN that West originally suggested the title “Hitler” for his 2018 album which was eventually released as “Ye.” They did not want to be named, citing concern for professional retaliation.
CNN has reached out to West for comment.
Universal Music Group, owner of Def Jam, which distributes West’s music, said in a statement to CNN on Tuesday that the company’s relationship with its GOOD Music label ended last year.
“There is no place for anti-Semitism in our society. We are deeply committed to the fight against anti-Semitism and any other form of prejudice,” added the Universal Music group.
Sources CNN spoke with had no information on why the album was ultimately called “Ye.”
Van Lathan Jr., a former TMZ employee who confronted West during his 2018 interview at their offices in which West said slavery “feels like a choice,” recently claimed in a podcast that West also had made anti-Semitic comments during their conversation. not made public. That’s why Lathan said his current comments didn’t surprise him.
“I’ve heard him say this stuff before on TMZ,” Lathan said during an episode of the “Higher Learning” podcast earlier this month. “I mean, I was surprised because this type of anti-Semitic talk is disgusting. It’s like I’m surprised every time someone does that, isn’t it? But as far as [West], I knew it was in him because when he came to TMZ he said that stuff and they pulled him out of the interview. … He said something like, ‘I love Hitler, I love Nazis.’ Something to that effect when he was there. And they pulled him out of the interview for some reason. It was not my decision.
One of the sources who spoke to CNN and was on the TMZ interview said West referenced Hitler favorably.
CNN has contacted TMZ for comment.
The revelation of West’s alleged Hitler admiration comes amid a wave of inflammatory actions by West that began earlier this month. He wore a “White Lives Matter” shirt at his Yeezy fashion show in Paris on Oct. 3 and dressed several black models in clothes with the phrase, considered a hate slogan by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). He then posted a private Instagram text conversation between himself and Sean “Diddy” Combs in which he claimed that Combs was “controlled by the Jewish people.” He followed this up with a tweet in which he said he would go “death con 3 on the Jewish people”, which led to Twitter locking his account.
West’s offensive rhetoric over the past few weeks has resulted in professional fallout for the rapper and designer. On Tuesday, Adidas ended its seven-year partnership with West, calling his recent actions “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous.”
In a statement, the sportswear maker said it “does not condone anti-Semitism and any other type of hate speech” and said West’s recent comments violated “diversity and inclusion values.” , mutual respect and fairness” of the company.
Balenciaga also severed ties with West, as did talent agency CAA. Production company MRC said it was shelving a documentary about West, and GAP announced the company would remove Yeezy Gap merchandise from its stores and shut down the YeezyGap.com website.
In an Instagram post on Thursday captioned “LOVE SPEECH,” West appeared to reference the broken business relationship, writing, in part, “I LOST $2 BILLION IN ONE DAY AND I’M STILL ALIVE.”
West was mentioned in banners raised by anti-Semitic protesters in Los Angeles over the weekend. His comments were condemned by the American Jewish Committee and the ADL, as well as many political leaders and celebrities, including his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian.