Kanye West paid a settlement to a former employee who claimed he used anti-Semitic language in the workplace, according to documents seen by NBC News.
In addition, six people who have worked with West or witnessed him in professional settings over the past five years said they had heard the American rapper praise Adolf Hitler or refer to conspiracy theories about Jews.
Three of them were former employees or collaborators and said they recalled multiple instances of West using anti-Semitic language. The other three said they recalled an incident in 2018 when he made an anti-Semitic tirade in an interview at the TMZ office.
Their accounts, as well as the settlement, suggest that West used the language more than was previously known to the public over the years — long before his recent anti-Semitic remarks online and in interviews came to light, leading him to lose A wave of business transactions.
Concept artist Ryder Ripps, who worked with the rapper on and off from 2014 to 2018, said he repeatedly recalled West actively talking about Hitler and the Nazis or Mention an anti-Semitic conspiracy.
“He told me a bunch of crap about ‘how the Nazis were good at propaganda,'” Ripps recalled multiple examples of West’s claim: “‘Jews have codes.'”
Another former employee who worked with West for three years recalled witnessing him praise Hitler and the Nazis in casual discussions.
“I think he’s just kind of, like, looking around, like, seeing, like, how are people reacting?” the former employee said. “He would say, ‘I even love Hitler,’ and he would stop and wait for a reaction.”
The former employee claimed that West praised Hitler at a 2018 meeting on the clothing program — saying he had “some good qualities” and that “he wasn’t all bad.”
Ripps, who is Jewish, said he objected to West’s comments at the time, but thought they “seem not that dangerous.”
But after a string of recent statements from West, Lipps said he saw things differently – adding: “It’s dangerous, disgusting and actually violent.
“With this pattern going on, and doubling and tripling all of this, it’s clear this is some kind of disgusting, hateful, weird Nazi obsession.”
Lipps said he believed anti-Semites became more emboldened after West’s remarks.
In a settlement censored by NBC News, West paid a former employee who claimed to have witnessed more than one incident in which West praised Hitler or Nazis at a business meeting. West denied the claims made by the former employee in the agreement.
The former employee, who asked not to be named, signed a nondisclosure agreement. To protect the person’s anonymity, NBC News withheld certain details of the settlement and reviewed the settlement as well as other letters and proof of payment that former employees say they received.
A representative for West did not respond to a request for comment.
CNN reported Thursday that a business executive who worked for West had settled for accusing him of creating a hostile work environment through his “obsession” with Hitler. NBC News has not confirmed the settlement, which appears to be different from the case of the former employee who shared settlement documents with NBC News.
West has recently made a series of comments against Jews and references to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, some on social media and in interviews.
The comments included repeated attacks on “Jewish media” – citing anti-Semitic claims that Jews disproportionately control the media – and Jews in general.
In an interview with Piers Morgan, West apologized “for the pain I caused and the confusion I caused.”
But days later, in an interview with MIT research scientist Lex Fridman, he reemphasized his earlier anti-Semitic rhetoric. On Friday, West continued to echo the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory in a conversation with the paparazzi, pulling out a spreadsheet he said highlighted Jewish media executives in red.
West’s recent remarks have led to a series of consequences.
On October 20, Balenciaga cut ties with West, who opened the house’s runway show in September.
On October 25, Adidas ended its partnership with West and its brand Yeezy, joining Gap, Foot Locker and other brands with which he has severed business ties.