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Documentary on Kanye iced, as talent agency drops antisemitic rapper

Explaining decision to shelve already-finished film; MRC studio executives say West took ‘classic tune’ of antisemitism mainstream; his agency CAA is latest to sever ties

Kanye West attends the Kenzo fall-winter 22/23 men's collection, in Paris, Jan. 23, 2022. (AP/Lewis Joly)
Kanye West attends the Kenzo fall-winter 22/23 men's collection, in Paris, Jan. 23, 2022. (AP/Lewis Joly)

NEW YORK (AP) — A completed documentary about the US rapper formerly known as Kanye West has been shelved amid his recent slew of antisemitic remarks.

MRC studio executives Modi Wiczyk, Asif Satchu and Scott Tenley announced in a memo Monday: “We cannot support any content that amplifies his platform.”

West, who legally changed his name to Ye, was recently restricted from posting on Twitter and Instagram over antisemitic posts that the social networks said violated their policies. He has also suggested slavery was a choice and called the COVID-19 vaccine the “mark of the beast.” Earlier this month, he was criticized for wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt to the showing of his latest collection at Paris Fashion Week.

Wiczyk and Satchu are co-founders and co-CEOs of MRC Entertainment. Tenley is the chief business officer. Shelving the documentary comes just days after the French fashion house Balenciaga cut ties with the rapper, according to Women’s Wear Daily. Adidas is also facing pressure to sever its relationship with West.

In their lengthy memo, Wiczyk, Satchu and Tenley reach deep into the history of antisemitism.

“Kanye is a producer and sampler of music. Last week he sampled and remixed a classic tune that has charted for over 3000 years — the lie that Jews are evil and conspire to control the world for their own gain. This song was performed acapella in the time of the Pharaohs, Babylon and Rome, went acoustic with The Spanish Inquisition and Russia’s Pale of Settlement, and Hitler took the song electric. Kanye has now helped mainstream it in the modern era,” they wrote.

Antisemites at a banner over LA freeway declaring ‘Kanye is right about the Jews’ (Oren Segal, via Twitter / used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

West’s talent agency, CAA, has dropped him as well. That news Monday and the scrapped documentary comes after UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer condemned West in a companywide memo denouncing antisemitism. West was briefly a client but returned to CAA after a year.

Others in Hollywood, including West’s estranged wife, Kim Kardashian, and other members of her family, have also condemned antisemitism. Demonstrators on a Los Angeles overpass Saturday unfurled a banner praising the rapper.

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