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Ye Is Sued for Hostile Work Environment at Donda Academy and Yeezy

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Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, was sued Tuesday by a former employee who accused him of discrimination and creating a hostile work environment by calling Adolf Hitler “great,” disparaging Jews and saying that “gay people are not true Christians.”

The lawsuit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court by Trevor Phillips, who says he was hired in November 2022, around the time a series of antisemitic remarks publicly made by Ye lost the artist his major-label record deal and put his businesses in jeopardy.

Phillips was initially hired to oversee “projects related to growing cotton” and other plants in an effort to make Yeezy, Ye’s fashion brand, “self-sustainable,” the lawsuit said, and then went on to work for Donda Academy, Ye’s private school in Southern California.

Phillips’s lawsuit claims that Ye made antisemitic comments in front of staff members at Donda Academy, including, “the Jews are out to get me” and “the Jews are stealing all my money.” After Adidas ended its decade-long partnership with Ye over his public remarks, the lawsuit claimed, the rapper told Phillips: “The Jews are working with Adidas to freeze up my money to try and make me broke!”

The lawsuit claims that Ye treated Black employees at Donda Academy, including Phillips, “considerably worse than white employees.”

Representatives for Ye and Donda Academy did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the lawsuit.

Late last year, as he was preparing to release new music, Ye put out a statement written in Hebrew in which he apologized to the Jewish community for his remarks, writing “I deeply regret any pain I may have caused.” His newest album, a collaboration with the R&B singer Ty Dolla Sign called “Vultures 1,” has been a streaming success, giving Ye the 11th No. 1 album of his career.

Most of the remarks that torpedoed Ye’s corporate deals were made in public, including on social media and on podcasts. In the lawsuit, Phillips describes comments he claims Ye made in private. The lawsuit says that during a conversation at the Nobu Hotel in Malibu, Calif., Ye said the Holocaust was “fake,” called Hitler “great,” adding: “Hitler was an innovator! He invented so many things. He’s the reason we have cars.”

In that same meeting, the lawsuit accuses Ye of making homophobic and antisemitic remarks, saying: “Yeah I am going for the gays! FIRST the Jews, THEN the gays.”

The lawsuit contains a screenshot of a text message it claims Ye sent to Phillips taking issue with how he carried out a task. “I am on some complete Hitler level stuff,” Ye says, then adds, “Minus the gas chambers.”

The lawsuit took issue with Ye’s conduct at Donda Academy, the school he founded. It claims that Ye told two children enrolled there that “he wanted them to shave their heads and that he intended to put a jail at the school — and that they could be locked in cages.”

“The staff quickly distracted the children,” the lawsuit says, “and escorted them out of the room.”

In a 2022 television interview, Ye said Donda Academy had more than 80 students and that its mission was “to be a performing arts school, to be a design school, an architecture school, a farming school, an automotive engineering school, a computer hardware and software school” as well as to “teach the Gospel.”

The suit said that Phillips’s daughter and younger brother attended the school, and that Phillips’s mother had helped him get the job there. The current status of Donda Academy, which has been named in other lawsuits brought by former employees, is unclear.

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