Kanye West is being sued by an ex-employee who alleges he was forced by the rapper to work under dangerous conditions.
As Sky News reports, Tony Saxon claims he is owed $1million (£800,000) in unpaid wages and loss of earnings after working as a project manager, full-time security, and live-in caretaker at West’s house in Malibu, California.
The lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court alleges that the ‘Donda’ artist unlawfully fired Saxon after he refused to comply with his “dangerous” demands.
Saxon told Sky News that he was instructed by West to remove the electricity supply and windows from the property, claiming Ye “wanted it to be like a bomb shelter”. Quoting the rapper, he said: “‘This is going to be my bunker, my place to go off the grid and hide’.”
According to the lawsuit, Saxon was hired by West in September 2021. His other responsibilities included overseeing construction-related jobs such as cleaning, demolition, hiring contractors and coordinating employees.
Saxon allegedly spent the entirety of his employment at the house “sleeping in makeshift conditions, finding empty spaces on the ground and using his coat as a makeshift bedding”. The property – which West purchased for a reported $55million (£44m) – had previously been stripped out for an extensive remodelling project.
These issues continued, the suit claims, despite “constant complaints” from Saxon about his sleeping arrangements and other dangers including workers “unsafely demolishing various parts of the house with no safety equipment”.
Saxon at one point was allegedly told to bring power generators into the home, but he refused to do so because it was “super irresponsible and super dangerous”.
Speaking to Sky News, Saxon claimed West warned him that he’d become “an enemy” like “a Clinton” or “a Kardashian” if he didn’t comply.
Saxon alleged that Ye “doesn’t pay anyone”, and described his experience of working for him as “insane”. He claimed there was a “constant shifting and changing dynamic, wondering [which West was] going to be on the other end of the phone – the nice pastor or the crazy dictator”.
The suit claims that Saxon was promised payment of $20,000 (£16,000) per week. Approximately a month later, however, he had allegedly only received a one-off $20,000 payment, as well as $100,000 (£80,000) for construction costs.
Per the complaint, Saxon also badly injured his back while working for West but his requests for time off were allegedly ignored by the rapper.
The suit alleges that Ye eventually fired Saxon after he mentioned his unpaid wages.
Saxon’s lawyer, Ron Zambrano, said: “Ye has shown a reckless disregard toward his employees and has flouted the law in unbelievably dangerous ways throughout this entire project at the Malibu house.
“No employee should have to suffer through the sort of working conditions Mr Saxon was forced to endure yet Ye showed no concern and merely wanted the work done, despite the hazardous and unsafe, not to mention illegal, actions he was trying to force the plaintiff to undertake.”
Earlier this year, West was accused in a lawsuit of allowing a bullying culture to permeate his Donda Academy, among several other complaints. Ye also avoided battery charges in relation to an incident that saw him throw a woman’s mobile phone in the street.