Kanye West faces racial discrimination lawsuit as security guard claims he was fired over refusal to shave dreadlocks

Kanye West faces racial discrimination lawsuit as security guard claims he was fired over refusal to shave dreadlocks
Kanye West's ex-security guard has filed a discrimination lawsuit against the rapper (Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Benjamin Deshon Provo, a former security guard employed by Kanye West, has filed a lawsuit against the artist, alleging discrimination against Black employees and wrongful termination, as reported by People.

Provo worked for West at various locations, including his private school Donda Academy and a warehouse storing Yeezy brand clothing.

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Former security guard accuses Kanye West of discrimination and wrongful termination

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 02: Kanye West attends the the Versace fall 2019 fashion show at the A
Kanye West is fielding allegations of racial discrimination (Getty Images)

Provo's lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, accuses West of subjecting Black employees to "less favorable treatment than their White counterparts." He claims that West frequently berated and screamed at Black employees and demanded that they dispose of books related to prominent figures in the Black community, such as Martin Luther King, Jr, and Malcolm X. Additionally, Provo alleges that he was paid less than non-Black employees without any discernible reason.

According to the complaint, Provo's employment was terminated after he refused to comply with West's demand to shave his head. 

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In response to Provo's complaint about the pay disparity, direct manager John Hicks responded: “Don’t bring up money to Ye. He doesn’t like to talk about money.”

The security guard also observed a "decrease in his paychecks" shortly after raising complaints. He claims his non-Black colleagues did not experience this, as he was told by Hicks that West "can't afford security right now."

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In April 2023, West "unreasonably and unjustifiably began demanding that Plaintiff and others shave their heads," despite Provo wearing dreadlocks "as an expression of his Muslim faith."

"As a result of Plaintiff’s non-compliance with Kanye’s demands that his head be shaved, Hicks and Kanye began to exert pressure on Plaintiff to do the same," the document notes.

“Kanye began to become increasingly more aggressive, demanding” by announcing “it is time for you to shave your heads. I am not messing around.”

The complaint states that despite Plaintiff's refusal, Hicks conveyed Kanye's directive to shave the dreads or face termination.

The complaint explains, “However, Plaintiff refused. Thereafter, Hicks approached Plaintiff and stated, 'Kanye said, 'Tell the one with the dreads to shave his head or he is fired.' Plaintiff refused to shave his head, and as a result thereof, his employment was terminated.”

The complaint additionally mentions that Provo is pursuing damages for various claims, including alleged discrimination, retaliation, hostile work environment, labor code violations, and attorney fees. Provo also seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions, as well as a public injunction, barring all defendants from owning or operating any educational school for minors under 18 years old in California. 

Additional lawsuit accuses Kanye West of hateful rhetoric and threats

Born on June 8, 1977, in Atlanta, Georgia, Kanye West, aka Ye, is a highly influential rapper and producer. His discography includes groundbreaking albums such as 'The College Dropout,' 'Late Registration,' and 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.'
Kanye West allegedly demanded that the employee shave his dreadlocks (Getty Images)

In addition to the lawsuit filed by former security guard Benjamin Deshon Provo, Kanye West is facing another legal challenge brought forth by former employee Trevor Phillips. Phillips alleges that West engaged in hateful rhetoric and made threatening remarks during his tenure at Donda Academy.

According to Phillips, West expressed hateful and antisemitic sentiments in the presence of students and staff. Additionally, he allegedly made derogatory remarks targeting the LGBTQ+ community. These allegations paint a troubling picture of West's conduct within the educational environment of Donda Academy.

Phillips' lawsuit further claims that West threatened students with incarceration, suggesting the establishment of a jail on the school premises where students could be confined to cages.

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