Kanye West partners with accused rapist to hand out ‘White Lives Matter’ shirts to homeless

Kanye West

Kanye West’s team handed out shirts with the words “White Lives Matter” to homeless people in Los Angeles’ Skid Row on Sunday night (October 16).

A video posted by Ian Connor, who is a stylist and associate of West, shows the handout taking place (as reported by Rolling Stone), with a voice in the background stating “courtesy of Kanye West”. Connor has previously been accused of sexual assault by at least half-a-dozen women.

West faced controversy after he wore the shirt emblazoned with the slogan when he introduced his latest Yeezy line after making his catwalk debut at Balenciaga’s Paris Fashion Week show.

He also doubled down on his views, writing on his Instagram Stories that the Black Lives Matter movement “was a scam”, adding “Now it’s over…you’re welcome”.

He then responded with a new Instagram post which featured a picture of the long-sleeved tee in question: “Here’s my latest response when people ask me why I made a tee that says white lives matter… THEY DO.”

As Rolling Stone noted, the phrase – an appropriation of the Black Lives Matter slogan – has been adopted by white supremacist organisations in recent years, and is categorised by the Anti-Defamation League as a hate slogan.

According to Rolling Stone, a source close to the drops has said that there are plans for a second round of free handouts. This comes after Dov Charney, who runs Los Angeles Apparel, had refused to release the shirts that were manufactured by his company following West’s antisemitic posts.

Connor, meanwhile, has collaborated with West in the past, describing himself on Twitter as the “creative director” of a recent shirt that shows Muhammad Ali fighting Superman, with West as Ali and Supreme creative director Tremaine Emory as Superman.

In a screenshot posted by Connor, West texted “Love love this” in response to the shirt and days later Drink Champs podcast host N.O.R.E. was seen wearing it.

Connor hasn’t been publicly linked to West since 2016, before which he served as a consultant for the Yeezy brand. But in June 2016, rapper Theophilus London claimed West had fired Connor, which coincided with multiple women coming forward to accuse Connor of sexual assault, as well as comments made by Amber Rose to The Daily Beast that a number of women had reached out to her privately about Connor.

Connor denied the allegations, telling Broadly: “I do not condone rape and I have never raped anyone. Why force somebody to do something they don’t want to do? Any forced situation is not cool.”

During his appearance on the Drink Champs podcast, West hit out at Pete Davidson, alleging that the former boyfriend of his ex-wife Kim Kardashian was a heroin addict. The rapper’s unverified claims were made without evidence. Davidson has not yet publicly responded to the allegations.

The billionaire rapper and entrepreneur’s controversial interview with the podcast has since been removed from YouTube and Revolt after co-host N.O.R.E admitted “regret” for airing West’s comments.

In other news, Elon Musk recently deleted a tweet hinting at a possible business collaboration with West.

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