Kanye West assails Jews, abortion in new interview with Lex Fridman

A man performing onstage

Kanye West.
(Amy Harris/Invision/Associated Press)

In a sprawling new podcast interview with MIT research scientist Lex Fridman, Kanye West made yet another series of incendiary and false statements about the Holocaust, abortion and the Jewish people.

West, who now performs as Ye, has been on an antisemitic tear through right-wing media and the podcast circuit, and his hate speech during the past weeks has cost him deals with talent agency CAA, fashion label Balenciaga and sportswear giant Adidas, which parted ways with West on Tuesday. “Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company said in a statement. “Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness.”

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Kim Kardashian condemned her ex-husband’s antisemitic remarks on social media Monday, following a local demonstration on Sunday by a hate group that referenced West’s tirades.

In a two-hour-and-26 minute interview published Monday, which touched on subjects ranging from engineering to the media to his relationship with Kardashian and her former boyfriend Pete Davidson, West appeared in a jovial if erratic mood. He described having dinner at a Cheesecake Factory the night before and sitting next to a veteran, with whom he discussed politics.

But West offered nary an apology for his recent remarks to Fridman, the Soviet Union-born Jewish host.

Echoing a statement he made in a previous interview, West said, “We are still in the Holocaust. A Jewish friend of mine said, ‘Go visit the Holocaust Museum,’ and my response was, let’s visit our Holocaust Museum: Planned Parenthood.”

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He continued: “Fifty percent today of … Black people’s deaths today is abortion…. It’s not racism; that’s too wide of a term. It’s genocide and population control that Black people are in today in America, that is promoted by the music and the media that Black people make, that Jewish record labels get paid off of.”

Fridman countered West’s antisemitic allegations of Jewish-run media, saying, “I grew up in the Soviet Union. I’m Jewish, parts of my family perished in the Holocaust of Nazi Germany, I have to push back…. When you say ‘Jewish media,’ there’s an echo of a pain that people feel.”

“You’re saying it’s redundant, right,” West said, smiling. “If Jewish people would accept that I’m a Jew, they’d hear it in a different way.”

“The right thing is not to say there’s Jewish control of the media,” Fridman added.

“That’s incorrect though!” Ye shouted back. “That’s a f— lie. There is. And did they did come and bully me and proved the point.”

Later, West accepted that his far-right beliefs have cost him his family and career. “I lost my f— family. I lost my kids. I lost my best friend in fashion. I lost the Black community,” he said. “People said I lost my mind…. I lost my reputation. And I’m up here just like, I just want my family. But I don’t want my family to have to say what the left wants it to say, to have to say what China wants it to say. I want to be an American and protect my kids and protect my wife, and raise my kids as Christians, and have my wife be a Christian.”

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West also spoke in condescending terms about his ex-wife’s parentage, commenting that “Certain people just have high DNA. Ivanka Trump has high DNA.” West later said that George Soros, a Jewish philanthropist and activist, “would use the Black trauma economy to win an election.”

At one point West suggests a Jewish conspiracy led him to being diagnosed with a mental illness. “There was a Jewish trainer that brought me to the hospital, and put in [the] press that I went to the hospital. A Jewish doctor that diagnosed me —”

“Why do you keep saying Jewish?” Fridman interrupted. “Because they were,” West said. He continued: “Diagnosed me with bipolar disorder and shot me with medication. Then put it in the press.”

West accused Ari Emanuel, chief executive of William Morris Endeavor, of “trying to take food out of my children’s mouth,” by writing an op-ed in the Financial Times calling for companies to cut ties with the rapper.

When asked toward the end of the interview about what he hopes his legacy will be, West said, “Who designed the sidewalk, who designed the water fountain, who designed the stop sign, who designed the stoplight? These things are so ubiquitous that the person who designed them is forgotten.”

What he wants for himself, he said, was “to be forgotten.”

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