Kanye West controversies Bianca Censori

A roundup of every single one of Kanye West’s biggest controversies

A new law suit has claimed he threatened to lock students at his school in cages


Content warning: Mention of racism and sexual assault

From anti-semitism to a “humiliation kink“, Kanye West is up there as one of the most controversial figures circling in the pop culture zeitgeist right now. And this week he made headlines again after claims emerged in a new law suit that he’d threatened to lock students in cages at Donda Academy. Yes, you read that right.

So, in case you’re in a wistful mood and fancy wandering down memory lane to look back at all of Kanye’s biggest controversies, here’s a retrospective look at every bit of hot water Yeezy has found himself in:

Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s MTV Video Music Award speech in 2009

A moment that has gone down in award show history for all the wrong reasons is when Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s MTV Video Music Award acceptance speech. In September 2009, West stormed onto the stage while Swift was making her acceptance speech and said Beyoncé deserved the award instead of her. He later apologised following the outrage from fans. Speaking with Charlamagne tha God, Kanye said he sees the VMA moment as the point his radio play took a massive hit.

Kanye West feuded with Wiz Khalifa on Twitter in 2016 for literally no reason

Following the release of Yeezus, Kanye West mentioned wanting to name the album Waves and rapper Wiz Khalifa, who happened to have a child with West’s ex-girlfriend Amber Rose, took offence to the idea. He claimed West did not give proper credit to rapper Max B, who popularised “wave” and “wavy” in rap.

Kanye West then went on a massive Twitter tirade about how he owned Wiz Khalifa’s child because he dated Amber Rose first after Khalifa wrote “KK” in one of his tweets and Kanye thought it was a dig at his wife’s initials. Turns out “KK” stands for Khalifa Kush, Wiz Khalifa’s brand of weed.

The rapper said Bill Cosby was innocent on Twitter in 2016

While promoting his album The Life of Pablo, West released his song called Facts, in which one of the lyrics asked if anybody felt bad for Bill Cosby. With zero context whatsoever, Kanye went onto tweet: “Bill Cosby is innocent!”. Bill Cosby was later found guilty of drugging and raping a woman at his home in 2004, and was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison.

Kanye released his controversial song Famous

One of Kanye West’s major controversies was for his song Famous. Kanye West held a fashion show for Adidas and it also became his album listening party. As it was during New York Fashion week, loads of celebrities including Gigi Hadid were in attendance. It was at the event that the celebs heard: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why? I mad that b**** famous.” West later claimed Taylor Swift signed off on the lyric but she denied ever doing so.

The music video for Kanye’s song Famous was released

As if the song lyrics weren’t enough, Kanye West released the music video for the song. The video depicts him and is wife naked on a bed next to wax figures of celebrities who were also nude. The celebrities included were Taylor Swift, George W. Bush, Donald Trump, Anna Wintour, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Ray J, Amber Rose, Caitlyn Jenner and Bill Cosby.

Kanye West showed his support for Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign

One of West’s most controversial moments was him rubbing shoulders with the former US President, Donald Trump. In 2016, West supported Donald Trump during the presidential race but he then later met the president-elect at Trump Tower to discuss multicultural issues.

Kanye West defended R. Kelly ahead of the Surviving R. Kelly documentary release

Another one of Kanye West’s biggest controversies was in January 2019 when Kayne publicly defended R. Kelly. During the release of the documentary, Surviving R. Kelly, Ye claimed fans should still listen to R. Kelly’s music and they should separate the art from the artist. In September 2022, R. Kelly was found guilty of child sexual abuse.

Kanye ran for President of the United States of America in 2020

In August 2015, Kanye West announced he would run for President five years later and in July 2020 he did just that. Even Elon Musk supported Kanye but it didn’t amount to much as he only gained 0.04 per cent of votes nationally.

Kanye invited DaBaby and Marilyn Manson on stage with him during a Donda listening event

During a listening event for his album Donda, Kanye West had Marilyn Manson and DaBaby on stage with him when they were facing respective sexual assault and anti-gay allegations against them.

Kanye West got upset with his friend Kid Cudi after he was spotted with Pete Davidson

In February 2022, Kanye shared his grievance with Kid Cudi to his fans. Kanye was upset over Cudi’s supposed friendship with Pete Davidson who was dating Kim Kardashian at the time. Taking to Instagram, the rapper said: “Just so everyone knows Cudi will not be on Donda because he’s friends with you know who”. Salty much?

In a music video for The Game’s song with Kanye, there is a scene of Pete Davidson being attacked

One of the latest of Kanye West’s controversies is the Eazy music video. In a clip of the music video, there is an animated version of West walking in front of an ambulance while rapping: “God saved me from that crash. Just so I can beat Pete Davidson’s ass”, and then a red monkey beats up a man with a blurred face who is wearing a sweatshirt with the word Skete on it. Skete is the nickname Kanye made up for Davidson and the animated character had a likeness to the comedian.

His questionable treatment of his wife Bianca Censori

Kanye West wife

Credit: Sansho Scott/BFA.com/Shutterstock

Kanye West has famously been posting explicit photos of his wife Bianca Censori online, making all his fans and the rest of the internet question what the hell is going on. “Who is going to save this woman from Kanye and then save Kanye from himself?” questioned one of his followers. “Looking like she’s his pet,” added another. “You treat this woman like a marketable piece of meat,” commented a third.

At the end of last year, it was claimed Bianca had fled to family in Australia to escape Kanye’s “controlling ways” where she had “no mind of her own” and was forced to “obey” her husband’s rules. After a long silence of the reports,  Kanye addressed the concerns he was “humiliating” Bianca by telling critics to “go fuck yourself”.

Claims he’d threatened students at Donda Academy and was racist and anti-Semitic in the work place

Donda Academy is Kanye West’s private school in Southern California and in a new lawsuit, filed by a former employee, it has been claimed he’s not the best boss. Allegedly, Kanye “treated the Black staff considerably worse than white employees” who he “screamed” at and “berated”.

According to the lawsuit, Kanye would “spew forth hate, profess antisemitic tropes and lies, threaten the LGBTQ+ community, and even on one occasion, almost sexually stimulate himself.” The employee also claims he witnessed Kanye threatening students he’d shave their heads and lock them in a cage. Kanye and his team are yet to respond to the allegations.

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Featured image credit via Sansho Scott/BFA.com/Shutterstock