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Kanye West Dropped by CAA As Hollywood Boycott Calls Grow

The agency cut ties with the rapper amid controversy over his antisemitic comments on social media and in multiple interviews.

Kanye West has been dropped as a client by Creative Artists Agency (CAA) after a 10-year relationship wrought with controversy for the rapper and fashion mogul, who has drawn significant criticism in recent weeks for antisemitic comments made on social media and in the press.

A rep at CAA confirmed to Billboard that West, who now goes by the name Ye, was no longer a client of the agency he joined in 2012 to reunite with his long time agent Cara Lewis. Lewis left CAA in 2016, but West stayed on as a client.

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Normally an artist of West’s stature would prompt a signing race between CAA’s two rival agencies, WME and UTA, but heads of both agencies have issued statements condemning West’s recent behavior and called on others to cut ties with the rapper.

On Oct. 23, Jeremy Zimmer, CEO of UTA, sent a companywide email titled “Rise of Anti Semitism and Hate,” arguing that West’s rhethoric will “embolden others to amplify their vile beliefs,” adding “we can’t support hate speech, bigotry or anti-Semitism. Please support the boycott of Kanye West.”

Days earlier, Ari Emanuel of Endeavor and WME wrote a column for the Financial Times titled “Business silence on Kanye West’s anti-Semitism is not an option,” calling on Apple, Spotify, Adidas and other companies that partner with West to break their silence and stop working with him.

“Silence is dangerous. It allows forms of hatred and racism, including anti-Semitism, to spread and become normalized. It coarsens and degrades our society and country,” Emmanuel wrote.t

CAA isn’t the first company to cut ties with West in the wake of his antisemitic comments. Last week, fashion house Balenciaga confirmed it had ended its relationship with the rapper, while on Monday, MRC (Billboard‘s former publisher) announced it would no longer release a recently-completed documentary about West due to his comments while calling on others to distance themselves from the rapper or condemn his statements.

While West still has official accounts on Instagram and Twitter, the platforms’ removal of his antisemitic posts seemingly inspired him to enter a deal to acquire George Farmer‘s right-wing social media app Parler last week. Farmer is notably the husband of conservative commentator Candace Owens, who along with West wore a “White Lives Matter” shirt at Paris Fashion Week earlier this month.

West’s words have led to at least one hate incident, according to images collected by antidiscrimination organizations. In Los Angeles on Saturday, demonstrators made Nazi salutes gestures after they unfurled a large overpass banner that read, “Kanye is right about the Jews.”