Depending on whom you believe, Kanye West, a Grammy award winning singer and songwriter, may or may not have singled out wheelchair bound fans at a recent concert in Sydney, Australia. During the show, which was captured by many fans on their phones, West took a long pause before starting a new song and said the only way he would continue is if everyone stood up. This is not an unusual request at concerts and many rock stars and rappers encourage the audience to stand up and dance.
However, some camera angles appear to show West berating a wheelchair-bound fan who obviously could not stand up. Rumors have it that West even sent his personal bodyguard, Pascal Duvier, into the stands to verify that one person not standing was in fact in a wheelchair. When it was confirmed, West is quoted as saying, “He is in a wheelchair? It’s fine!”
There was also an amputee in attendance that raised his prosthetic limb to prove to West that he had good reason for not standing.
Those familiar with West surely know of his argumentative nature, brash attitude and habit for attracting controversy. West responded to the criticism by telling the press to “pick a new target” and his wife, Kim Kardashian, took to Instagram to defend her husband by saying the incident was a misunderstanding.
But some members of the media wouldn’t let it go. Huffington Post contributor and stroke survivor Harshada Rajani, who happens to use a wheelchair, sent an open letter to West berating the singer for his insensitivity and lack of respect. Rajani points out that West’s actions humiliated two disabled fans and that his insistence on having their disabilities verified was undignified and classless. He asked for West to apologize and donate money to a disability charity.
West has refused any further comment on the incident. We’d like to get your opinion on this incident and if you think West’s actions warrant an apology.