I need a new designation for people like Kanye West, and am open to suggestions. Noting that in any specific episode that West is an ethics dunce is entirely superfluous and stating what was undeniable and generally known long ago. This is a man who accused George W. Bush of wanting to see black citizens suffer in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and did so on national TV. This is a man who interrupted a fellow entertainer’s acceptance speech for an industry award to announce to the world that she didn’t deserve it. This is a man who has inflicted the names “North” and “Saint” on his helpless children. He, like Donald Trump (whom I would vote for as President over Kanye West, so don’t say I’m #NeverTrump), belongs to that rare but growing class of celebrities for whom civil descriptions are inadequate. Only labels like “asshole” come close to describing them. In the West’s extreme case, even that is an insult to assholes.
West gave us another view of his near total ethics vacuum when he abruptly ended his October 2 performance at the Meadows Festival in Queens, New York City. He had just learned that his wife, Kim Kardashian, was robbed at gunpoint in her Paris hotel room. West, who was headlining the festival, went onstage (late, as usual) at a little after 8:45 p.m. He was scheduled to perform until 10 p.m., but walked off the stage at 9:40, halfway through the song “Heartless,” announcing, “I’m sorry, family emergency, I have to stop the show.”
In fact, he didn’t have to stop the show, and no professional performer worthy of the name would stop the show. His wife wasn’t in danger, and she was in Paris. There was nothing West could do to assist her. Walking off mid-song added to the breach of performer ethics here. West had an obligation to deliver the performance that his fans, themselves ethically dubious for supporting such a mega-jerk, had paid for, and also to the organizers of the festival, who trusted him, lord knows why, to meet his contractual obligations. He is, however, the definition of a narcissist. It’s all about Kanye, all the time. Audiences? Partners? Employers? They don’t matter. Respect? Fairness? Honesty? Responsibility? Trust?
As ethics corrupters like West tend to do, his actions encourage those associated with him to also behave unethically. Founders Entertainment released a statement that said,
“Due to a family emergency, Kanye West was forced to end his performance towards the end of his set. We appreciate the great show he put on for fans to close out the inaugural Meadows Festival. Our thoughts are with West and his family.”
Translation: “You’re not getting your money back!”
A show that begins late and ends 20 minutes early is not a “great show,” it is an incomplete show. The audience paid for and had a right to demand a complete show.
Meanwhile, over in Paris, the spectacularly useless Mrs. West was robbed at gunpoint of what police say was $9 million worth of jewelry. Remember when your mother told you not to bring some treasured possession to school or camp because you were liable to lose it or have it stolen? And you did, and it was? Kardashian, whose entire family is a blight on the values of the nation and whose popularity and success are indictments of the culture as well as the intelligence of the public, is learning this hard lesson about 35 years later than most. Why would she travel with $9 million in jewelry? Why would anyone spend $9 million on jewelry? Has anyone worthy of fame and admiration ever purchased $9 million in jewelry? Has anyone with the brains of a gnat ever been robbed of $9 million of anything that far away from home? Nobody deserves to be robbed and assaulted, but some victims do forfeit sympathy by being spectacularly reckless and foolish. That’s our Kim.
Not to worry, though: she’ll soone be able to buy another 9 mil or so. Americans will shower her with residuals and royalties for something, probably involving her bodacious booty, and shell out more to her husband for Hip Hop classics with lyrics like this—-they are not atypical— from West’s “Bound 2″
“She asked me what I wished for on my wish list…Have you ever asked your bitch for other bitches?”
Hmmm. Maybe it’s not so unethical ending a Kanye West show early after all.