Stars and paparazzi rarely mix. Nichol Lechmanik, a photographer specializing in the celebrity press, announced Thursday to sue American rapper Kanye West for assault, accusing him of throwing his mobile phone on the ground during an altercation in January in California. Nichol Lechmanik blamed the singer, now known as Ye and accumulating controversies, for causing him "great mental and emotional suffering", at a press conference held in Los Angeles.
The altercation reportedly occurred in January outside a sports complex in Ventura, on the outskirts of Los Angeles, where the son of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, his ex-wife, played. While she had just taken some pictures of Kim Kardashian, the photographer would have seen the rapper outside arguing with someone, and would have started filming him with his cell phone from his car.
The video, released during the press conference, shows the singer approaching the vehicle and calling out to him: "If I want to see my son play, you can't fall on me like that (...) stop filming." While continuing to film, Nichol Lechmanik replied: "I know, but Kanye, you're a celebrity."
The rest of the video shows the singer snatching the phone from the paparazzi's hands and throwing it on the ground before walking away. "I was very scared," said Thursday Nichol Lechmanik, ensuring that the altercation had disrupted his "ability to work" and that she is "not the same" since. The photographer is seeking damages from the singer, said his lawyer, Gloria Allred, without indicating the amounts.
Altercations between celebrities and paparazzi in California are not uncommon. Stars complain of being followed and harassed all the time and paparazzi respond that these stolen photos are the only way to make a living in a highly competitive market.
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, who have four children, have been a high-profile tabloid couple for a decade. Since their acrimonious divorce in 2022, the rapper, who has openly spoken about his mental health problems, has multiplied controversies. Kanye West recently shocked with a series of anti-Semitic remarks. It was banned from most social networks and lost its partnership with Adidas in October.