The family of George Floyd said they plan to file a $250 million lawsuit against Kanye West over the troubled superstar’s “repugnant” insinuation that it was fentanyl that actually killed Floyd.
Filed by Roxie Washington, the mother of Floyd’s daughter, Gianna, the lawsuit includes West, his business partners, and associates for “harassment,” “misappropriation,” “defamation” and “infliction of emotional distress.”
“Kanye’s comments are a repugnant attempt to discount George Floyd’s life and to profit from his inhumane death,” attorney Pat D. Dixon III said in a statement. “We will hold Mr. West accountable for his flagrant remarks against Mr. Floyd’s legacy.”
The suit comes after West’s controversial “Drink Champs” interview that aired Sunday in which he stated that Floyd didn’t die from police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee pressing against his neck for more than nine minutes.
West falsely asserted that Floyd died from fentanyl use and pre-existing medical conditions.
“They hit [Floyd] with the fentanyl,” he told “Drink Champs” hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN. “If you look, the guy’s knee wasn’t even on his neck like that.”
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Floyd’s death a homicide due to Chauvin kneeling on his neck.
Chauvin, who was ultimately convicted of murdering Floyd, also pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this year to charges of depriving Floyd of his constitutional rights. He’s serving 252 months in prison.
Lee Merritt, the attorney for Floyd’s other family members, also issued a cease-and-desist letter to West for his comments.
While the law renders it virtually impossible to defame a dead individual, Merritt cautioned that the family might sue West for his false statements.
“Claiming Floyd died from fentanyl and not the brutality established criminally and civilly undermines and diminishes the Floyd family’s fight,” Merritt said.
Another of Gianna’s attorneys, Kay Harper Williams, also scolded West.
“Free speech rights do not include harassment, lies, misrepresentation, and the misappropriation of George Floyd’s legacy,” Williams said. “Some words have consequences, and Mr. West will be made to understand that.”
Meanwhile, the episode of “Drink Champs” featuring West was pulled.
“Drink Champs prides itself on its ability to allow a free flow of ideas within the hip-hop community,” a representative for the program told The Hollywood Reporter. “That being said; unfortunately, the recent interview with Kanye West contained false and hurtful information regarding the circumstances surrounding the murder of George Floyd.”
N.O.R.E called Hot 97’s “Ebro in the Morning” to talk about the episode and issued an apology.
“I’m sorry,” he said, NPR reported. “I can sit there and say, ‘That’s only Kanye West. It’s only what he said.’ But I have a responsibility when I have an audience. When I watched myself, I was embarrassed. I was like, ‘Wait a minute? You just let him say that?’ I’m irresponsible for letting it go.”