Kanye West has been hit with a lawsuit from a former project manager and property caretaker, who claims he was fired after he refused to remove the electricity and windows from the rapper’s home.
Tony Saxon was allegedly fired after refusing to “comply” and remove the electricity and windows from Ye’s Malibu home to create a retro bomb shelter, according to NBC News, which viewed the lawsuit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The project manager’s lawsuit alleges violations of multiple labour codes, including dangerous working conditions, unpaid wages, and wrongful retaliatory termination.
According to the lawsuit, the Yeezy designer allegedly ordered Saxon, 32, to move large generators into the home. But when the project manager refused, West told him to “get the hell out”. The rapper also reportedly said that Saxon would be “considered an enemy if he did not comply”.
In the complaint, provided to NBC News by Saxon’s law firm, Saxon alleged: “When Plaintiff refused to engage in unlawful conduct or to engage in activity that would further cause him physical injury, Mr Ye responded: ‘If you don’t do what I say, you’re not going to work for me, I’m not gonna be your friend anymore and you’ll just see me on TV.’”
After working for the rapper for two months, West reportedly fired Saxon on 5 November 2021 for not “complying” with the requests. The rapper also allegedly promised to pay Saxon $20,000 per week. However, according to the lawsuit, West only made two payments: one to cover Saxon’s weekly salary and another for the project’s budget.
In a statement, Saxon’s lawyer Ron Zambrano described the allegations, stating: “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.”
“He continues his pattern of not paying his bills while treating workers terribly. 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,” Zambrano added.
In an interview, Saxon said he refused to “comply” out of concern and a desire to guide West in the right direction, saying that, as a friend, he always had West’s “best interest in mind”. He compared the series of events to preventing a friend from driving drunk: “They get really mad at you that you overstepped your boundaries, but still, they could have gotten really hurt.”
Of the project that led to their falling out, Saxon said that West envisioned turning his Tadao Ando-designed beach house - which the rapper bought in an off-market deal in 2021 - into “a bomb shelter from the 1910s”. West reportedly asked Saxon to demolish the custom marble bathrooms, remove the custom windows, plumbing, and electricity, and replace the stairs with slides. Upon hearing his client’s requests, the project manager said he initially thought the rapper was commissioning him to make an “art project” rather than a liveable home.
The project manager alleged that West didn’t want to be a “slave” to modern conveniences and appliances, nor did he want to be “accessible” to the government. According to Saxon, this meant: “No electricity. He only wanted plants. He only wanted candles. He only wanted battery lights. And he just wanted to have everything open and dark.” But his client’s dream meant that seagulls would be flying into the house because of the lack of windows, and the rapper wouldn’t be able to keep food in the house because there would be no refrigerator.
“We were going to be gutting all of that out and sort of building him a Bat Cave” which he said he could “hide from the Clintons in and the Kardashians in,” Saxon said.
The Independent has contacted a representative for West for comment.