Kanye West—now legally known as Ye—is a man who has proven he’s a misogynist and rape apologist time and time again. Here are six instances the cultural icon has clearly shown he does not care about victims of abuse.
Perhaps the most pervasive behaviour displayed by Ye is his overt obsession with ex-wife Kim Kardashian. His subsequent stalking of her has played out for the masses and it’s not some joke for the tabloids anymore—it’s scary. From the constant unabashed direct harassment of the reality TV star to surrounding himself with strange lookalikes, these actions are a concerning and chilling pattern of an abusive and controlling character.
Regardless of what you think of Kardashian—I have my own valid critiques of her—it does not mean that what we are witnessing before our eyes should be excused. A point made quite brilliantly by Trevor Noah on The Daily Show, “Two things can be true. Kim likes publicity, Kim is also being harassed. […] What she’s going through is terrifying to watch and it shines a spotlight on what so many women go through when they choose to leave.”
“What we are seeing is one of the most powerful, one of the richest women in the world unable to get her ex to stop texting her, to stop chasing after her, to stop harassing her,” he continued. Ye’s blatant treatment of his ex—even while together in controlling her clothing (as we saw him repeat with Julia Fox)—from threatening her new boyfriend Pete Davidson to publicly disparaging her decisions as a mother, is proof of ever-clear symptoms of a man with unbridled misogyny.
Following the swathe of stories that surfaced in 2021 surrounding Marilyn Manson’s sexual abuse of many of his previous partners—with Evan Rachel Peters releasing a documentary just this week on the horrors she faced—Ye thought it was a ‘genius’ idea to host Manson at his Donda launch event in August 2021. In what was unfortunately unsurprising on Ye’s part, Manson appeared alongside DaBaby—who was having his own homophobic scandal—on the porch of the small church-like structure at the stadium’s centre.
Thanks to a deep investigation by Rolling Stone titled Marilyn Manson: The Monster Hiding in Plain Sight, more than 55 sources came out against the singer to state that he was allegedly guilty of sexual assault, battery, harassment and often locked women in a cage he kept in his home. Peters, in her documentary premiere, detailed how she was raped on camera as part of a music video shoot for the artist as well as other information that surfaced in the Rolling Stone exposé that unveiled Manson’s unabashed use of the n-word and nazi memorabilia.
The backlash against this partnership did nothing to slow down Ye’s involvement with the accused sexual abuser. Just a few short months later, Manson attended an October 2021 Sunday Service event alongside Justin Bieber. The trio, adorned in white clothing, were seen hugging, leading prayer and singing gospel numbers. What was touted as a so-called Christian value of forgiveness by those involved was in fact a disgusting act of positioning themselves as those who have the right to absolve alleged rapists of their serious crimes. Weaponising their supposed faith to exonerate themselves from their wrongdoings—it’s fine that he may have abused over 16 women, Ye forgave him so it’s all good. Excuse me, what? Never mind the tortured, traumatised lives of the women he abused along the way. It’s not this delicate dance with controversial art Ye thinks it is, it’s victimising abusive men and demonising abused women.
And it just keeps going—it’s not just hand-holding appearances together—with reports surfacing in February 2022 that Manson was heavily involved in the production of Donda 2. They’re making money off this. “I see Marilyn a lot in the studio,” producer Digital Nas exclusively told Rolling Stone. “Like, everyday I go to the studio, Marilyn is there working on [the album].”
Going forth, Ye failed to (as most men in the industry seem to do) acknowledge his wrongdoings and subsequently dangerous actions by defending accused abusive predators. In response to the backlash on an almost two-and-a-half hour interview on the podcast Drink Champs, the rapper made some disparaging comments on the #MeToo movement as a whole—doubling down on his own narrative. “All the #MeToo—like, when I sit next to Marilyn Manson… for five songs, you know, it’s like they can’t cancel a song,” the artist said.
Ye also used epithets of George Orwell’s infamous novel 1984 to allude to the ‘similarities’ found in the movement. “They’ll hit you with accusations or somebody you was with 10 years ago […] It’s power and it’s politics. You know, power-hungry maniacs and just, control. This is Nineteen Eighty-Four mind control that we in. And mob mentality,” he went on to say. Yikes—the irony will hit you soon enough.
What Ye fails to realise is that he finds himself among the group that are actually the controlling ‘authority’. Men who repeatedly get away with their incomprehensible actions, still manage to have a career and, in Ye’s case, embarrassingly (and terrifyingly) still try to control, harass and stalk their ex-wife. Bemoaning cancel culture doesn’t work for me, sorry—not when the crime is, well, an actual crime. It’s not art, it’s assault apology.
His comments about #MeToo can also be found in his music, take his track ‘Yikes’ (told you) where he discussed Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam—accused by multiple women of sexual assault and rape—saying, “Russell Simmons wanna pray for me too, I’ma pray for him ’cause he got MeToo’d.”
If we go back a little further, we can see this rhetoric play out consistently through the years. Ye, then still legally Kanye West, made headlines for his overt support of accused rapist Bill Cosby. He took to Twitter in 2016 to simply write, “BILL COSBY INNOCENT !!!!!!!!!!” citing no evidence or reasoning as to why he believed this to be true. The actor, who was found guilty, spent two years of a three to ten year sentence and has since been released due to a mistrial—an error that occurred during proceedings—was accused by over 50 women of drugging and raping them.
In a visit to The Fader offices in New York in 2018, donning a MAGA hat of course, sharing music in which he collaborated on with 6ix9ine—the rapper who pleaded guilty to the use of a child in a sexual act that was filmed. The minor in question was just 13-years-old when the then 18-year-old rapper (real name Daniel Hernandez) abused her at a party in 2015. The artist has still somehow gone on to have a career, collaborating with others like Nicki Minaj…
Ye, as we know, was a staunch defender of Donald Trump—enough said there really—but also supported another accused in the same meeting. “About being the musical guest in SNL [that] weekend, Kanye shared that he would have preferred to have Louis C.K. host. (The disgraced comedian has admitted to being a sexual abuser),” Fader continued. The 2017 sexual misconduct allegations which had the comedian masturbate in front of women without their consent included a quote from the man himself stating, “These stories are true. The power I had over these women is that they admired me. And I wielded that power irresponsibly.”
During this same period of his rape apology tour in 2018, Ye took to defend A$AP Bari—real name Jabari Shelton—on Instagram in a statement that W Magazine writer Kyle Munzenrieder described as “seemingly comparing the idea of believing victims about their sexual abuse to the sunken place from Get Out.” While collaborating with artists accused of such crimes is supporting them regardless, Ye actively and overtly continues to vocalise his disbelief of victims—mocking and discrediting their experience in his path.
“Bari challenged me when no one else did and when he got in trouble I was scared to say he was my friend just like I did with xxx and that was some pussy shit on my part,” Ye wrote. “I let the perception and the robots control me. That’s the true sunken place. Bari I appreciate your perspective and vision. You brought me closer to Rocky too. Jedis never let perception and cancel culture get between them.”
A$AP Bari, founder of A$AP Mob, pled guilty in 2017 (though he served no jail time) for a sex attack in London 2017. The assault, which was filmed, saw Bari enter the hotel room of a woman who had previously rejected his advances, pull the covers off her naked body, yelling: “You fucked my assistant, now you’re going to suck my dick.” He proceeded to strike her despite her calls for him to stop, telling her “shut the fuck up bitch.” How have the robots controlled this then Ye?
Many have seen Ye’s recent treatment of Kardashian as the shocking downfall of an artist they used to admire, but in reality, this is a man who has shown who he is for a while. A father of daughters who is unapologetic in his defence of the abuser and attack on the abused is not likely to treat his wife with any more grace than his past actions have shown.
Depending on which generation you were born into, you might know the American actor and musician Jared Leto for a wide array of reasons. I personally remember him from Requiem for a Dream and the absolute trauma that movie caused my 15-year-old self. Some may also associate Leto with Fight Club’s Angel Face character while for others his face brings forth unwanted flashbacks from the car crash that was his performance as Suicide Squad’s Joker. Heck, if you’re not much of a movie buff but know a thing or two about fashion, then Leto can only represent one thing to you: Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele’s most favoured muse, placed even before Harry Styles and Lana Del Rey on the pedestal.
But Leto should be known for more than his surprisingly long-lasting acting career or the name he’s made for himself in the music industry with his band Thirty Seconds To Mars—fronted by the man himself along with his brother Shannon Leto on drums. It’s time for Leto to be dragged for more than his embarrassingly meme-worthy acting attempt in House of Gucci—it’s about time we addressed the problematic behaviour he’s been displaying for years without ever facing the repercussions. From accusations of paedophilia and rape to his bizarre cult island, we’ve gathered all the receipts.
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When the Leto brothers formed their rock band in 1998, they probably never imagined the fan base it would accumulate over the years. Thirty Seconds To Mars (also known as 30STM) went on to consistently enjoy sold-out tours and even headline numerous festivals. Known for its energetic live performances, fused elements from a wide variety of genres, its use of philosophical and spiritual lyrics, concept albums, and experimental music, the band took a strange turn when it started holding cult-like “summer camps” for its audience in 2015.
What seemed to have started as an ironic comment—in 2013, Leto told The New York Times Magazine that it was “a joke, a response to journalists saying, ‘You have such a cult following.’”—quickly turned into a golden opportunity to fleece their audience. In August 2019, while on yet another island retreat they’d held in Croatia for hundreds of fans, Thirty Seconds To Mars tweeted, “Yes, it’s a cult,” sending the internet into an understandable frenzy.
As reported by KQED in September 2019, the band’s fans “collectively refer to themselves as ‘the Echelon’, and are a group that seems overwhelmingly immersed not [just] in music nerd-dom, but rather a more general sort of love for the community surrounding the band.” I mean, just watch 10 seconds of the fan-made video below and you’ll get an idea of the megachurch vibes 30STM is giving off:
Oh, and in case you’re still not convinced, keep in mind that the Echelon also seems more than happy to don all-white uniforms and worship Leto’s feet. No biggie.
KQED further noted, “Like many cults, the Echelon espouses an us vs. them mentality via the hashtag #YouWouldntUnderstand, a refrain Leto repeats often. That idea has pushed supporters to ever more fervent degrees of devotion any time the band receives any degree of criticism.”
Looking into the band’s eyebrow-raising trips, the publication revealed that its Camp Mars event, which was held between 7 and 9 September 2019, charged $999 for two nights of outdoor camping, where you had to bring your own tent and supplies, Fyre Festival-style. The getaway also included daytime outdoor activities like rock-climbing and archery, plus two Thirty Seconds To Mars concerts, which the band called ‘Church of Mars’. More expensive dorm options were also offered, but the only way to sleep in a space that wasn’t shared with strangers was to pay $6,499 for a “VIP experience.” Neat.
But that’s all fine, because Leto declared the band “anti-greed” back in 2013. Whether the whole cult aspect surrounding 30STM started as a joke or not, what certainly seems to be serious is how aware Leto is of his fans’ dedication to him. This thirst for devotion has most definitely played a part in the worrying accusations the celebrity has faced both before and after.
In May 2018, in the midst of the #MeToo movement, Dylan Sprouse—yep, that’s the twin brother of Cole Sprouse who is best known for his role as Zack Martin on the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and its spin-off, The Suite Life on Deck—posted a tweet accusing Leto of sending DMs to every model aged 18 to 25.
It quickly escalated when Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn tweeted the following as an answer to Sprouse’s initial tweet, “He starts at 18 on the internet?” Though the tweet has since been deleted, many netizens managed to grab a screenshot beforehand:
This was not the first time Gunn tried speaking up about Leto’s predatory behaviour either. In June of 2015, the director reportedly did a live stream on the video app Periscope in which he made similar remarks about the actor’s habits of sleeping with underage girls. SCREENSHOT did not manage to locate a copy of the video in question.
In that same year, the New York Post reported that the 30STM frontman had been pursuing teen models. “He’s been approaching all the girls and inviting them to his shows,” an anonymous source told the paper. “He’s a serial texter. He is constantly texting these 16- and 17-year-old girls. It’s really kind of creepy.”
For a man who openly held a competition in which the prize was a night sleeping in his bed and who fronts a band that is known to specifically request their fans get tattoos in their honour, to be accused of such things should have been enough to eventually lead the actor to face at least some kind of consequence. And yet, not much happened to the cult leader in 2018, even after a worrying number of allegations, some from years before then, started appearing online.
Though the article has since been wiped clean from the internet, in July 2015, pop culture writer for the now-vanished media criticism site Contemptor, Evangeline Van Houten, made some waves for her piece titled Another Cosby? A Reminder That Several Women Have Accused Jared Leto Of Sexual Assault. In it, the journalist collected several confronting allegations of sexual misconduct from fans of 30STM.
A number of victims, as young as 15, described having sex with Leto and some of the allegations suggested the singer acted despite a lack of consent or continued even when asked to stop. One account stated, “He was very pushy into coercing me to do sexual acts with him and he was quite rough and forceful. Once he was unnecessarily rough and when I told him it hurt he didn’t stop—he never did anything slowly or for my pleasure… And no, he never asked me if I was ever ok or comfortable with anything he wanted to do, simply because he is not the person to care.”
The 50-year-old actor never tried to respond to such accusations, and let’s be honest, it never seemed like he really had to, especially since barely anyone even made the effort to shed light on his alleged predatory behaviour. A Reddit thread based on the article mentioned above includes many more shocking accounts, in case you’re wondering exactly how many victims we’re looking at here.
In 2014, a Star Magazine print issue featured an interview with former adult film star Vicki Marie Taylor claiming that, back when Leto dated Cameron Diaz, she and three other strip dancers had been invited to a post-concert get-together one night in April 2002.
“The other girls and I stripped down to bikinis and hung out with Jared and the band backstage,” Taylor told Star. “After a while, Jared invited me onto his tour bus. His brother, Shannon, the band’s drummer, was already on it and the three of us were the only people there. I gave Jared a lap dance for just a minute, but then he asked me to do the same for his brother, who was sitting on a couch. As I started to dance for Shannon, Jared suddenly grabbed me around the throat from behind and said to me, ‘I can reach pure sexual enjoyment in 30 seconds just by looking into your eyes’. Obviously, it was kind of a weird situation.”
She went on to say that Leto then sat back down and watched Taylor lap dance his brother for ten minutes until a roadie announced it was time for them to leave for their next gig.
The internet is home to many (many, many) more accounts of Leto allegedly sexually assaulting (sometimes underage) victims. However, some internet users have suggested that such online accusations are not to be taken seriously due to the fact that they never actually evolved into sexual assault and rape police cases—a very stupid and uneducated way of looking at the situation.
How many times do we have to say it? The fear of not being believed makes it even harder for victims to come forward, so imagine how frightening it must be for anyone facing Leto and his somewhat invincible yet invisible team of lawyers. Almost 90 per cent of sexual assault survivors will never go to the police.
And it’s not only that victims are worried people won’t believe them, they also worry they will face horrific repercussions for coming forward with their story—whether personally, professionally or from the perpetrator themselves—especially if they go on to report the assault to concerned authorities. Seeing how much of an expert Leto is at emptying his fans’ pockets, it’s not hard to think of the many options he has under his belt when trying to silence his victims.