George Floyd's Family Readies $250 Million Lawsuit Against Kanye West

George Floyd's Family Readies $250 Million Lawsuit Against Kanye West

On a recent now-deleted episode of popular Revolt TV podcast Drink Champs, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West joined hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN after a whirlwind few weeks of controversial t-shirts, Instagram outbursts and lost business deals. To add more gas to the flames, the musician, who now goes by Ye, used the platform to tout the repeatedly disproven conspiracy theory that George Floyd died by fentanyl intoxication and not due to cardiac arrest.

"I watched the George Floyd documentary that Candace Owens put out," Ye said. "They hit him with the fentanyl. If you look, the guy’s knee wasn’t even on his neck like that."

Ye is referring to The Greatest Lie Ever Sold: George Floyd and the Rise of BLM, a new film made by conservative commentator Candace Owens discussing the "lies" surrounding Floyd's death and the subsequent actions taken by the Black Lives Matter movement. Currently the film is only available to stream on The Daily Wire+, a streaming service by conservative media company The Daily Wire which was founded by Ben Shapiro and Jeremy Boreing. The site is known for reporting on popular stories with a conservative slant and has been known to contain false or misleading information to support their ideas.

The Drink Champs episode was met with almost immediate backlash, with fans weighing in on the lack of pushback N.O.R.E. gave to Ye's inflammatory comments. Among the other things he said included comparing Floyd to late fashion designer Virgil Abloh, who he doesn't believe died from cancer. Despite claiming he's not anti-semitic, he also said in the same conversation that "Jewish Zionists" were writing sensational articles about his ex-wife Kim Kardashian. "Jewish people have owned the Black voice," he said, going on to cite examples such as record label executives, music managers and even Ralph Lauren.

As a result of the misinformation being spread to the hundreds of thousands of Drink Champs listeners, Floyd's family announced that they will be considering a $250 million lawsuit. The suit is being filed by Roxie Washington, Floyd's underaged daughter's mother. His daughter is also the sole beneficiary of his estate.

Floyd's family confirmed they are working with two law firms, the Witherspoon Law Group and Dixon and Dixon Attorneys at Law. They also filed a cease-and-desist letter to Ye. In a statement obtained by Variety, Nuru Witherspoon said "The interests of the child are priority. George Floyd’s daughter is being traumatized by Kanye West’s comments and he’s creating an unsafe environment for her."

Floyd's death sparked a passionate response across the world after he was murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After a grocery store employee called the police when they suspected Floyd used a counterfeit $20 bill, officers forcibly removed him from his vehicle and restrained him. Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd's neck for over nine minutes despite repeatedly being told he couldn't breathe. Medical examiners determined Floyd's death was a homicide and Chauvin was subsequently sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison.

N.O.R.E. has attempted to walk back on his support for Ye's comments. The episode has been pulled and the host called into morning news show The Breakfast Club to explain his feelings. "I did not realize that the George Floyd statements made by Kanye on my show were so hurtful," he said. "You have to realize that it was the first five minutes of the show — like when he walked in, he told my producer that if we stop filming, he’ll walk out. So I didn’t want a Birdman moment, like when he walked out, so I wanted the man to speak."

Ye's comments about Floyd's death caught the most flack on the internet as fans realized they're witnessing the rapper's descent into the vicious and misleading world of right-wing conspiracies. While some people have a difficult time accepting that the rapper who once went on national television to say that George W. Bush didn't care about Black people would now be denying the cause of death of an unarmed Black man at the hands of a police officer. Then again, when confronted with the swift change in his politics, Ye said "Racism isn't the deal-breaker for me. If that was the case, I wouldn't live in America."

Ye has been openly supporting right-wing politics for some time now. Once an open Trump admirer, Ye has since raised alarm bells with concerning online behavior. He's used his Twitter and Instagram accounts as an open platform to talk to millions of fans and share personal information, ranging from text screenshots to professions of his love for conservative thinkers such as Owens.

In 2018, it appeared that Ye may have been coming up for air. Rumors spread that he was responsible for the creative design behind Owens' Blexit movement, which encouraged Black Americans to leave the Democratic Party in favor of the Republican Party. Ye denied his involvement and tweeted, "My eyes are now wide open and now realize I've been used to spread messages I don't believe in. I am distancing myself from politics and completely focusing on being creative !!!"

Ye has most recently been restricted on Instagram. When he took to Twitter to express his frustration, he sent out the now-deleted tweet that said he will be "going death con 3 [sic] On JEWISH PEOPLE." The anti-semitic tweet earned him a swift restriction on that account as well. Ye also received criticism for making a shirt that said "White Lives Matter." When he saw the pushback against the slogan, which was popularized by the alt-right as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement who saw it as exclusionary and racist, the rapper launched a harassment campaign against Vogue's global fashion editor at large, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson.

Shortly after the shirt controversy, Ye joined conservative political commentator Tucker Carlson for an in-depth interview. However, Vice obtained cut footage from the interview that shows numerous anti-semitic comments being made by him as well as a strange tangent that "fake" children were planted into his home to manipulate his children.

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