Kanye West’s recent comments in a podcast interview could land him in legal trouble with the family of the late George Floyd after West spoke out about Floyd’s death and claimed Floyd died of a drug overdose, not a police officer’s knee on his neck.
West, who now goes by his changed name “Ye,” was a guest on Sunday’s Drink Champs podcast hosted by the rapper known as NORE Everything.”
Speaking out on a variety of issues, West made some controversial comments about the nature of Floyd’s death, which occurred on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis.
As a source of information he cited the documentary “The Greatest Lie Ever Told” by conservative commentator Candace Owens.
“I saw the George Floyd documentary that Candace Owens did. One of the things his two roommates said was that they want a big guy like me. They want a big guy like me.
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“And the day he died he said a prayer for eight minutes. He said a prayer for eight minutes. They hit him with the fentanyl. If you see, the guy’s knee wasn’t even on his neck like that,” West said.
WARNING: The following video contains graphic language that some viewers may find offensive.
Kanye West claims George Floyd’s death was caused by fentanyl and that the cop’s knee “wasn’t even on his neck like that” ‼️😳
— RapTV (@Rap) October 16, 2022
West said Floyd’s physique reminded him of his former collaborator Virgil Abloh, who died of cancer last year.
In light of comments linking Floyd’s death to fentanyl, civil rights attorney Lee Merritt, representing the Floyd family, tweeted Sunday that the family may be considering a lawsuit against West.
“While one cannot defame the dead, #GeorgeFloyd’s family is considering a lawsuit alleging Kanye’s false statements about the manner of his death. Claiming that Floyd died from fentanyl does not undermine established criminal and civil brutality and lessens the struggle of the Floyd family,” Merritt tweeted.
While one cannot defame the dead, the family of #GeorgeFloyd is considering charges of Kanye misrepresenting the manner of his death.
Claiming that Floyd died from fentanyl does not undermine established criminal and civil brutality and lessens the Floyd family’s struggle.
— Lee Merritt (@MerrittForTexas) October 16, 2022
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in Floyd’s death after a 2021 trial.
At Chauvin’s trial, Dr. Andrew Baker, Hennepin County’s chief medical examiner, who performed Floyd’s autopsy, concluded that Floyd’s death was caused by “cardiopulmonary arrest,” which occurred as a result of “law enforcement, restraint and neck compression,” CNN reported at the time.
The coroner acknowledged that Floyd’s fentanyl use and heart condition also played a role in his death, but did not consider them the most direct causes.
Meanwhile, it was Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, who told Merritt about Kanye’s comments about Floyd’s death on the Drink Champs podcast, CNN reported.
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“I have assembled a work team to investigate [West’s] statements and to investigate the source of those statements,” Merritt told CNN.
Merritt said Philonise Floyd proposed a defamation lawsuit, which was not possible because Floyd was deceased. Libel and defamation laws only apply to the living.
But Merritt suggested there could be other legal grounds for filing a lawsuit against West over his comments, such as emotional distress, CNN reported.
West has been heavily criticized on social media for his comments, with some hoping the Floyd family will sue.
“Kanye West is a pathetic, boot-licking apologist for white supremacy,” wrote Bishop Talbert Swan of the Church of God in Christ, an outspoken progressive.
“I hope Floyd’s family sues the ‘White Lives Matter’ shirt off his back.”
George Floyd was murdered.
We all watched the video in horror.
He didn’t die of a fentanyl overdose.
Kanye West is a pathetic, boot-licking apologist for white supremacy.
I hope Floyd’s family sues the “White Lives Matter” shirt off his back.
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) October 16, 2022
Beauty salon mogul and television producer Elgin Charles even tweeted that it was time to “cancel” West, citing West’s recent controversy over “White Lives Matter” t-shirts and older comments West have made, such as to Example implied during an interview in 2018 that there was “choice” implicated in American slavery.
“Kanye West was dressed in MAGA hats, Confederate flags and White Lives Matter t-shirts. He claimed “slavery is a choice,” he made anti-Semitic remarks, and he made a FALSE claim that “George Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose.” It’s time for #CancelKanye,” Charles tweeted.
Kanye West wore MAGA hats, Confederate flags and White Lives Matter t-shirts. He claimed “slavery was a choice,” he made anti-Semitic remarks, and he made a FALSE claim that “George Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose.”
It’s time to #CancelKanye. 🚮🚫
— Elgin Charles (@ElginCharles) October 17, 2022
However, some have sided with West and are critical of the Floyd family.
“George Floyd’s family is threatening to sue Kanye West. I hope Kanye retaliates and takes all her ill-gotten gains,” one Twitter user posted.
George Floyd’s family threatens to sue Kanye West. I hope Kanye counters and takes all of their ill-gotten gains.
— Pamela Hensley🐋 (@PamelaHensley22) October 17, 2022
West has not publicly addressed the criticism or the rumors of potential legal action by the Floyds against him.
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