Kanye West used offensive phrases about Jews, says ex-business partner

Kanye West is now legally known as Ye (PA)
Kanye West is now legally known as Ye (PA)

A former business partner of Kanye West has alleged that the American rapper used “offensive phrases” about him being Jewish towards him.

Alex Klein, a tech entrepreneur, was speaking in a new BBC Two documentary where he is described as the 46-year-old musician’s former friend.

Journalist Mobeen Azhar, who fronted the broadcaster’s Battle For Britney documentary, presents The Trouble With KanYe.

It looks at the musician, now legally known as Ye, and his 2024 US presidential campaign.

Mobeen Azhar and Malik Yusef
Mobeen Azhar and Malik Yusef (BBC/Forest Ventures/PA) (Forest Ventures/BBC/Forest Ventures)

Klein, who created music streaming platform and remix device Stem Player in collaboration with Ye, which released the Donda 2 album, told Azhar about the alleged reaction his former business partner had when they parted ways.

He said: “We turned down 10 million dollars. Kanye was very angry you know, he was saying ‘I feel like I wanna smack you’, and ‘You’re exactly like the other Jews’ – almost relishing and revelling in how offensive he could be, using these phrases hoping to hurt me.

“I asked him and I said ‘Do you really think Jews are working together to hold you back?’

“And he said ‘Yes, yes I do, but it’s not even a statement that I need to take back because look at all the energy around me right now. Without that statement, I wouldn’t become president’.”

Klein announced in November 2022 that his company Kano Computing had ended its relationship with the musician.

Ye, one of the world’s most successful musicians with more than 160 million records sold, made an unsuccessful bid for the White House in 2020.

A homeless man, referred to as Mark, who lives in a car outside the Cornerstone Christian Church in California, is also interviewed.

Mark told Azhar that Ye asked him to be his campaign manager for his White House bid.

He said: “They all said I was the most religiously erudite in the room and Kanye started looking to me for my opinion on every topic that came up.

“He called me the following Monday, the Monday before Thanksgiving, and the first thing he said to me was ‘I want you to be my campaign manager to run for president’.”

The BBC said the church was visited after video emerged of Ye attending it, and in the hope of making contact with him.

The pastor of Cornerstone Christian Church, who the BBC said did not want to be filmed, told Azhar that Ye bought part of the property and had “big plans”.

He also showed a room of people using sewing machines, with mood boards on the wall showing new designs for Ye’s Yeezy brand.

Adidas cut ties with Ye in late October saying it “does not tolerate antisemitism”.

The German sportswear company did say in May it will put his Yeezy shoes on sale and donate some of the proceeds to social justice organisations.

Mobeen Azhar. (BBC/Forest Ventures)
Mobeen Azhar. (BBC/Forest Ventures) (Forest Ventures/BBC/Forest Ventures)

John Boyd, who ran Ye’s 2020 US presidential campaign, will also feature in the BBC programme, with poet Kevin Coval and Ye collaborator Malik Yusef.

Accompanying the documentary is an eight-part podcast series The Kanye Story.

Netflix previously released Jeen-Yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy, which charted his early years in the music industry.

The three-part series drew on reels of intimate footage dating back two decades, showing his evolution from unknown rapper to international star, fashion designer and businessman.

The PA news agency has contacted Ye’s representatives for a response.

The Trouble With KanYe airs at 9pm on BBC Two on Wednesday.