The disgraced rapper and former designer known as Kanye West has said he plans to run for president in 2024, which would make him the second declared candidate after Donald Trump.
The declaration follows a series of scandals and far-right associations for the 45-year-old star, who now goes by Ye. The day before, the sportswear giant Adidas announced it was launching an investigation into allegations he harassed former employees. Rolling Stone magazine reported claims by Adidas employees working on the rapper’s Yeezy shoe line that he used “porn, bullying and mind games” to create a “toxic environment” at the company.
That revelation itself followed several fashion brands, including Adidas, Gap and Balenciaga, dropping the 45-year-old star over antisemitic comments he made online.
He has also been dropped by his talent agent, lawyers and record company. Ye later said he had lost $2bn in one day.
The presidential run is his second. During his first, in 2020, he qualified for ballot access in just 12 states, unsuccessfully sued for access to five more, gave up on four and missed registration deadlines on a further 29.
He held one highly emotional rally in South Carolina in which he spoke of his anti-abortion views, funded two television ads and ultimately picked up just 70,000 votes across the entire US.
Ye’s announcement of a second run for the White House was made with a video of his campaign logo to social media captioned “Ye24”. In it, he claimed to have asked Donald Trump to be his running mate, a suggestion that had “most perturbed” the former president.
“The thing that Trump was most perturbed about [is] me asking him to be my vice-president,” Kanye said in a video posted on his recently unlocked Twitter account. “I think that was, like, lower on the list of things that caught him off-guard.”
“It was the fact that I walked in with intelligence,” Ye added.
In the “Ye24” Twitter post, the rapper said he’d advised Trump to “go and get these people that the media tried to cancel”, with flashes of Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, Roger Stone and InfoWars conspiracist Alex Jones.
Several days ago, Ye was seen in the company of white nationalist Nick Fuentes at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago country club and home. In the subsequent video, titled “Mar-a-Lago DebriefYe said Trump “started basically screaming at me at the table, telling me I’m going to lose. Has that ever worked for anyone in history? I’m like, ‘Wait, hold on Trump, you’re talking to Ye.’”
Ye recently told the far-right British commentator Milo Yiannopoulos that he was “working on the campaign”, which Yiannopoulos said he took that to be a campaign announcement. On Thursday, Ye indicated that he had enlisted Yiannopoulos as his 2024 campaign manager.