Kanye West sued by photographer after the rapper allegedly threw her phone into the street

Two women sit behind a table with several microphones on it.
Gloria Allred, right, and her client, photojournalist Nichol Lechmanik, hold a news conference Thursday to announce a lawsuit against Kanye West, who goes by Ye, that alleges assault, battery, negligence and violation of Lechmanik’s civil rights during an incident in January.
(Rodin Eckenroth / Getty Images)

An angry Kanye West, aka Ye, grabbed a phone from a paparazzi photographer and threw it into oncoming traffic while she recorded him, according to claims in a lawsuit filed in Ventura County.

Video of the incident was recorded outside a Newbury Park sports facility on Jan. 27 where West’s child was reportedly playing in a school game, according to the clip recorded by photographer Nichol Lechmanik.

She is suing West on allegations of assault, battery, negligence and a violation of her civil rights.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday marks the latest controversy involving the unpredictable Grammy Award-winning musician and fashion designer.

West could not be reached for comment.

Multiple businesses and brands severed ties with the 45-year-old West amid his racist and antisemitic statements last fall. He was also banned last year from Twitter and Instagram for spreading antisemitic comments. In April, West was sued on allegations of placing students at his Christian K-12 school in unsafe and unsanitary conditions.


The incident began when Lechmanik was waiting outside a school sports facility to photograph West’s ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, who went inside earlier, according to her lawsuit. Lechmanik and several other paparazzi were driving by the facility when she noticed West get out of his vehicle and confront another photographer.

West appeared irate in the video and Lechmanik claimed she was afraid that he had a weapon because he seemed to be reaching into his pockets while talking to the photographer in the street, according to her complaint.

Lechmanik said she was afraid West would hurt the photographer, given his history of assault allegations by other paparazzi, she said in the lawsuit, and she did not feel safe to get out of her car.

When West noticed her recording him, he approached her vehicle and started to address Lechmanik.

“If I want to see my son at a game, you all ain’t going to run up on me like that,” West said in the video as he leaned toward Lechmanik’s driver side window.

“I understand,” Lechmanik said.

“If I say stop,” West started to say.

“I wasn’t running,” Lechmanik interrupted him.

“It ain’t running. Stop with your cameras,” West said.

Lechmanik continued to record with her phone while holding a small dog in her other arm. The dog’s whimpers could be heard on the video.


“I know Kanye, but you’re a celebrity,” Lechmanik said in the video as West reached into the car, grabbed her phone and threw it into the street.

Lechmanik’s associate also recorded West from the passenger seat, according to the lawsuit. That video showed West demanding a camera from another paparazzi photographer after he walked away from Lechmanik’s vehicle.

Both videos were played during a news conference Thursday with Lechmanik’s attorney Gloria Allred.

At times, Lechmanik’s voice broke as she was asked to defend her actions as a paparazzi photographer.

“We are legit journalists. I’ve never had any other incident happen like this with any other celebrity,” Lechmanik said. “We are mindful. We care about the celebrities. We’re always concerned about their well-being. I would never do any harm to anyone.”

Lechmanik filed a police report with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office after the incident, but there have been no criminal charges filed against West, according to Allred.

“Nichol wants justice and that is why she filed her lawsuit against Ye. In addition, she wants him to stop interfering with the rights of other photographers to engage in their lawful occupation,” Allred said in a statement.