The family of George Floyd filed a defamation suit against billionaire rapper and designer Kanye West over misleading comments he made while on Drink Champs podcast.
The lawsuit comes a day after Drink Champs host Nore apologized for the comments West made, and they also pulled the entire podcast from their platforms by Monday night. The lawsuit was filed by Roxie Washington, the mother of George Floyd’s daughter, a minor who is the sole beneficiary of his estate.
In a release on Tuesday, Washington revealed that the Floyd estate has retained two law firms, Witherspoon Law Group and Dixon & Dixon Attorneys at Law, to initiate proceedings against Kanye West.
The suit is seeking $250 million in damages. “Kanye’s comments are a repugnant attempt to discount George Floyd’s life and to profit from his inhumane death,” the release quoted attorney Pat D. Dixon III said.
She added that the suit intends to hold Kanye accountable for the “flagrant remarks” about Floyd’s death and also to send a message to not only the ‘Donda’ rapper but everyone connected to him, including business partners and associates, as the comments were not only insensitive but also false.
The family is contending that Kanye’s comments, which disputed the manner and cause of death of Floyd, are tantamount to “harassment, misappropriation, defamation, and infliction of emotional distress,” on his daughter and the family.
During the rant-filled interview, Kanye West shares several statements that have been proven false about Floyd’s death. His statements which quote right-wing activist Candace Owens, state that the man was not killed by the police but rather that he had been drugged up on fentanyl. The statements by Kanye are similar to that offered by the police officers who arrested Floyd, one of whom sat on his neck for almost nine minutes while he complained about being unable to breathe.
The police officers claimed that Floyd had died from a fentanyl drug overdose, but a jury found them all liable for his death after the prosecution introduced evidence that while the deceased man did have a nonlethal amount of fentanyl in his bloodstream, his cause of death was ultimately homicide due to the reckless acts of the police.
The officer who sat on Floyd’s neck, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of Floyd’s death and has been sentenced to 22 years in jail. Three other officers were also found guilty by a St. Paul federal jury of federal civil rights offenses arising out of the death of Floyd.
The case spurred nationwide protests after the officers were initially not removed from the frontline and continued to work after Floyd’s death which was caught on camera, went viral.
In the meantime, it’s unclear if Drink Champs has been named a party in the lawsuit, but co-host N.O.R.E issued several frantic apologies on Monday during a surprise phone-in on the Breakfast Club show.
“I don’t support none of it,” N.O.R.E. said. “I don’t support the George Floyd comments, I don’t support the antisemitic [comments]. That’s all I have is Jewish friends, all I have is Black friends. That’s it,” he added.
Drink Champs also issued an explanation for the show pulling the content.
“Drink Champs prides itself on its ability to allow a free flow of ideas within the hip hop community. That being said, unfortunately, the recent interview with Kanye West contained false and hurtful information regarding the circumstances surrounding the murder of George Floyd,” a representative for the show said in a statement via The Hollywood Reporter.
“Integrity is very important and we don’t want to promote false narratives on our platform. Our goal is to celebrate the culture. Therefore, we had no choice but to remove the episode from distribution. We apologize to the family of Mr Floyd and anyone else hurt by this episode,” the statement reads.