Kanye allegedly threatened to “cage” Donda Academy students

Kanye West has been sued by a former Yeezy and Donda Academy student, who claims that the rapper threatened to “cage” students.

The lawsuit was filed by Trevor Phillips – a former employee of West – on Tuesday (April 2) in Los Angeles. In the case, he accuses the rapper now known as Ye of numerous explosive allegations including verbal abuse, threatening physical violence and comparing himself to Hitler.

As highlighted by various outlets including NBC News, Rolling Stone and Consequence, Phillips alleges that West told students that he wanted to shave their heads and lock them in cages. He also claims that the rapper frequently praised Hitler, and even compared himself to the Nazi leader on one occasion.

Other accusations laid out in the filing are that Ye once simulated masturbation during a one-on-one hotel room meeting, threatened to punch Phillips during a “temper tantrum”, and verbally abused his staff. The latter, Phillips elaborated, claimed that West treated his Black staff “considerably worse than white employees”, and told various members of staff that they could be fired for being “fat”.

Elsewhere in the suit, he also stated that Ye temporarily delayed paying workers after his Yeezy bank accounts were frozen.

Representatives for Ye and attorneys for Donda Academy have not yet publicly responded to requests for comment.

Kanye West attends the Marni fashion show during the Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2024-2025 on February 23, 2024 in Milan, Italy.
Kanye West attends the Marni fashion show during the Milan Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2024-2025 on February 23, 2024 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Arnold Jerocki/Getty Images)

Phillips was hired in November 2022 to work on the “vertically integrated crew” for Yeezy, but was later transferred to Donda Academy following Adidas cutting ties with the rapper over his string of anti-Semitic behaviour. He has become the latest former employee to take legal action against Ye, and claims that even after losing his working partnership with Adidas, the musician continued to “double down” on his anti-Semitic comments.

He claims that he pushed back against the rapper’s anti-Semitism and threats to go after the LGBTQ+ community “next”, to which West allegedly responded with “incessant harassment, humiliation, and attempts to both mentally control and destroy” him.

West fired Phillips during a tirade over a garden for which he was responsible and, in the lawsuit, the former employee claims he pleaded with the musician to retain his job as he had a medical condition and that his daughter and little brother both attended Donda.

“Kanye raised his hand and pointed at Phillips’ neck condition and screamed: ‘Fuck your neck!’” the suit reads (as per Consequence). “Then pointing at the school, Kanye belched, ‘And fuck your daughter. I don’t give a fuck about none of that.’”

The suit seeks over $35,000 in damages for claims of discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination, among others.

Rapper Kanye West performs onstage during the "Vultures 1" playback concert during Rolling Loud 2024 the at Hollywood Park Grounds on March 14, 2024 in Inglewood, California.
Rapper Kanye West performs onstage during the “Vultures 1” playback concert during Rolling Loud 2024 the at Hollywood Park Grounds on March 14, 2024 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

While representatives have not yet responded to the allegations brought to light by Phillips, they have previously dismissed claims about Donda. In a past response from Ye’s lawyer (via NBC News), the former employees’ descriptions of the school were described as a “dystopian institution designed to satisfy Ye’s idiosyncrasies”.

“None of it is true and the allegations do a disservice to the Donda Academy’s current staff and students and their parents who will attest to their positive experience,” they said in a 2023 filing.

This is a developing story.


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