Did Kanye West Assault an Autograph Hunter in L.A.?

The controversial rapper and producer, now legally named "Ye," has been the focus of tabloid scrutiny for many years.

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Claim

In the early hours of Jan. 13, 2022, Ye (commonly known as Kanye West) assaulted a member of the public in downtown Los Angeles.

Rating

Research In Progress
Research In Progress
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Origin

In January 2022, news outlets reported that Los Angeles police were investigating the rapper and producer Ye — commonly known as Kanye West — as a suspect in an alleged early-morning assault in downtown Los Angeles. 

For example, on Jan. 13 the entertainment industry magazine Variety reported that:

Kanye West has been named as a suspect in a battery report taken by the LAPD’s Newton Division early on Thursday morning, Variety has confirmed. He was not arrested; a rep for West did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

According to LAPD spokesperson Redina Puentes, the incident occurred at about 3 a.m. at South Santa Fe Avenue and Bay Street in downtown Los Angeles. The location is outside of Soho Warehouse, a members-only club.

Earlier in the day, the celebrity and gossip website TMZ published video footage of what it characterized as the aftermath of the alleged assault. In one of the videos, whose authenticity we have not yet verified, a man can be seen lying on a sidewalk. Citing unnamed witnesses, TMZ claimed that West had become embroiled in a dispute with an autograph hunter, and ultimately punched the man twice, in the head and neck.

Citing their own unnamed sources, L.A. Fox affiliate KTTV also reported that the alleged victim was an autograph hunter, that a formal police report had been filed, and an investigation was under way, with West being treated as a suspect in misdemeanor battery:

A spokesperson for LAPD confirmed to Snopes that the alleged victim in this case had named West as the alleged assailant. An emailed statement from LAPD read: 

Thursday morning [Jan. 13], at 3:00 a.m., officers responded to Santa Fe Ave and Bay Street.  A Battery Report was completed with Kanye West as a named suspect. It is unknown how the victim was battered. Victim called police. Kanye was not at scene. No arrests have been made and the incident is being investigated by our Newton Division.

(As a side note, in October 2021, a Los Angeles court permitted West to legally change his name to “Ye,” which had been one of his nicknames for many years. This article refers to Ye as Kanye West, for the sake of clarity, and because he is still most commonly referred to by his birth name.)

In an effort to clarify or confirm the relevant facts, we have sent a list of questions to several attorneys listed recently in court records as representing West. By the time of publication, we had not received a response from any of those attorneys.

Since West has not yet publicly responded to the allegations against him, and since he has not even been arrested or charged, we are issuing a rating of “Research in Progress.” If or when we receive relevant, substantive information or evidence, we will update this fact check accordingly.


Sources:

Aswad, Jem. “Kanye West Named as Suspect in Criminal Battery Investigation.” Variety, 13 Jan. 2022, https://variety.com/2022/music/news/kanye-west-suspect-criminal-battery-investigation-1235153591/.

 
“Kanye West Enraged in Video After Allegedly Punching Autograph Seeker.” TMZ, https://www.tmz.com/2022/01/13/kanye-west-alleged-punch-video-fan-autograph-seeker-cops-battery/. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.
 
“Videos.” FOX 11 Los Angeles, https://www.foxla.com/video/1022967. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.
 
“Yes, Kanye West Petitioned To Legally Change His Name.” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/kanye-west-name-change/. Accessed 14 Jan. 2022.
Recent Updates
  1. Updated [Jan. 14, 2022]: Added statement provided by LAPD.
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