The family of George Floyd have announced their intention to file a $250 million lawsuit against Kanye West, for claiming that Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose.
The rapper and artist, known by his stage name Ye, spoke on the Drink Champs podcast this weekend, covering various topics, including his reaction to Candace Owens’s documentary on the life and death of George Floyd in 2020.
“I watched the George Floyd documentary that Candace Owens put out,” West said. “One of the things that his two roommates said was they want a tall guy like me, and the day that he died, he said a prayer for eight minutes.
Discussing the infamous video of the death of Floyd, West said that they “hit him with the fentanyl,” and that “if you look, the guy’s knee wasn’t even on his neck like that.” Fact checkers have noted that Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker said Floyd’s heart disease and fentanyl use were only contributing factors to his death, not the direct cause.
Kanye West says George Floyd passed away because of fentanyl and that the cop’s knee “wasn’t even on his neck like that” pic.twitter.com/sVKy3VK35O
— Kurrco (@Kurrco) October 16, 2022
Following the interview, which has already been taken down from YouTube and the official podcast site, West received a cease and desist letter from the Witherspoon Law Group, representing Roxie Washington, the mother of Floyd’s daughter, acting in her daughter’s interests.
“As you can expect, our clients are very distressed and hurt by the allegations you made,” the letter read, which demanded the removal of the interview, and all footage from “every podcast, website, advertisement, and social media site, no matter the platform of medium.” West was further instructed not to make any more comments about Floyd and his family.
In a press release, it was further revealed that Washington, on behalf of her daughter, plans to seek $250 million in damages from West, alleging “harassment, misappropriation, defamation, and infliction of emotional distress.”
“Kanye West made blatantly false statements about George Floyd’s death to promote his brands, and increase marketing value and revenue for himself, his business partners, and associates,” the press release claimed. “Kanye West stated malicious falsehoods about George Floyd to profit from Mr Floyd’s horrendous death and his family’s trauma.”
Nuru Witherspoon, of the Witherspoon Law Group, argued that “the interests of the child are priority [sic],” claiming that she was “being retraumatized by Kanye West’s comments and he’s creating an unsafe and unhealthy environment for her.”
“Kanye’s comments are a repugnant attempt to discount George Floyd’s life and to profit from his inhumane death,” added Attorney Pat D. Dixon III, of Dixon & Dixon. “We will hold Mr West accountable for his flagrant remarks against Mr Floyd’s legacy.”
NEW: Lawyers for George Floyd daughter plan to file $250M lawsuit vs. Kanye West. "Kanye's comments are a repugnant attempt to discount George Floyd's life & to profit from his inhumane death. We will hold Mr. West accountable for his flagrant remarks against Mr. Floyd's legacy." pic.twitter.com/w56rTtCKtu
— Matt Sullivan (@sullduggery) October 18, 2022
After the news of the upcoming suit broke, some users on social media pointed out that West previously donated $2 million to pay for the entirety of Floyd’s daughter’s college tuition, as well as supporting the families of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.
— Ω Memology 101 Ω (@NewsM101) October 18, 2022
Lee Merritt, a lawyer who has worked with the Floyd family previously, but is not currently involved in the planned suit against West, told Rolling Stone that they felt “betrayed.”
“For someone who has held himself out as an ally and supporter for the family, to now see him reversing course and ratifying [Owens’] comments and her extreme views is really disappointing,” he said. “That documentary was offered by a person who we know is on the far right with an agenda. Now you essentially see Kanye West advocating for Derek Chauvin and other conspiracists.”
Merritt had noted before the launch of the suit that Floyd could not have been defamed by West, as “one cannot defame the dead.”
While one cannot defame the dead, the family of #GeorgeFloyd is considering suit for Kanye’s false statements about the manner of his death.
Claiming Floyd died from fentanyl not the brutality established criminally and civilly undermines & diminishes the Floyd family’s fight.
— Lee Merritt (@MerrittForTexas) October 16, 2022
This news and commentary by Jack Hadfield originally appeared on Valinat News.