It all started earlier this month with the “White Lives Matter” shirts Kanye West—or, Ye (aka, current pariah)—wore to his YZY runway show in early October during Paris Fashion Week. “White Lives Matter” has been linked to the white supremacy movement, the KKK—and is considered hate speech by some.
Additionally, the front of the WLM shirts featured an image of the late Pope John Paul II—yes, the pontiff of 27 years who was found to have knowingly ignored decades of rape and sex abuse of children in the Catholic church.
Immediately, there was outraged backlash to Ye’s fashion decisions, followed by the unstable former mogul sharing his hatred of Jews on social media—tweeting he intended to go “death con [sic] 3 on Jewish people”—on podcasts, and with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson.
In just the last week, Ye’s spewing has gotten him dropped by agency CAA, the Gap (which was collaborating on Yeezy clothes), Foot Locker, Balenciaga and, most recently—after delays that baffled the world—German sports apparel house Adidas, which made West a billionaire with their collaboration on Yeezy shoes.
Also in that snug timeframe: West was sued for $250 million by the family of George Floyd for saying he died of a drug overdose rather than murder-by-cop; he showed up at the Manhattan Beach offices of Sketchers on Wednesday and was removed from the building; and his mysterious Simi Valley school, Donda Academy, just as mysteriously shut down on Thursday. He also reportedly lost $1.5 billion of his net worth.
But back to those White Lives Matter shirts.
While West has been a very successful in the fashion business, he is not a manufacturer. Which begs the question: What kind of person would even print those in the first place?
It appears they were manufactured by Los Angeles Apparel founder Dov Charney, who was ousted from his original company American Apparel for allegations of sexual harassment and financial misconduct, according to Rolling Stone. In 2016, Charney, who denied those charges, created a new company to push low priced T-shirts and hoodies on the internet.
Charney and Ye go back a few years. Charney became a regular at West’s Sunday Service events and even acted as general manager for Yeezy. He hired Yeezy’s pattern makers, sewers and color creators to help turn out the musician’s early run of clothing.
However, after Kanye declared his anti-Jew “death com 3” mission, Rolling Stone reports that Charney—who is Jewish—refused to release all the White Lives Matter shirts his company had made for West. It seems they were meant to go on sale with Los Angeles Apparel.
Last Sunday, Ye and associate Ian Connor, also his stylist—who, RS states, is also accused by several women of being a rapist—offered the world a rough estimate of the WLM shirts’ value when they dumped a load of them on Skid Row’s homeless community—posting a video describing the delivery as part of “Load One.”
Los Angeles reached out to Charney and his publicity team, but got no response. Staff close to him have also declined to make any comments on the shirts or the Ye situation.