A paparazzi photographer is suing Ye — also known as Kanye West — for assault, battery, and negligence. West was caught grabbing her phone and throwing it into the street, according to Variety.
What is Kanye West being sued for?
Photographer Nichol Lechmanik filed an official lawsuit this week with the Ventura County Superior Court, according to Variety. This comes after the photographer initially called 911 and filed a police report. Following an investigation, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office said that Lechmanik declined to press charges against Ye.
However, it seems she changed her mind on the matter. Lechmanik now seeks damages against Ye, claiming that she sustained “great mental and emotional pain.” The photographer has also been unable to do his job, resulting in a loss of income.
According to Lechmanik, an encounter she had with Ye led to him grabbing her phone and throwing it onto the street. In a press conference on Thursday she recounted the story, where she accused Ye of reaching into her car and grabbing her phone.
“He reached into my car as if he were going to hit me, he grabbed my phone out of my hand and then angrily threw it into the street,” Lechmanik said. “He caused so much fear that I have not been the same since.”
When did the incident take place?
According to the lawsuit, the incident itself occurred on January 27, 2023, while Ye was outside a sports academy while attending his daughter’s basketball game with ex-wife, Kim Kardashian. The lawsuit states after Ye “angrily” confronted a paparazzi that was taking photos of Kim, Lechmanik began to film the altercation. This led to Ye allegedly grabbing her phone.
“Given Defendant Ye’s reputation for violence against photographers, his history of physically harming them, and based on his threatening body language, Plaintiff became fearful for the photographer’s safety,” the lawsuit states. “She did not want to get out of her because she was afraid of Defendant Ye.”
The lawsuit goes on to note that Ye claimed “You all ain’t gonna run up on me like that,” before saying “if I say stop…stop with your cameras.” The photographer responds to Ye by mentioning that he is a celebrity, which escalates into Ye taking the phone and throwing it “onto the street towards oncoming traffic.”
“I just think that people do not understand the hardship that we go to as far as photographers,” Lechmanik said when asked if she believes paparazzi invade celebrity’s privacy. “I’ve never had any other incident happen like this with any other celebrity… I want people to know is that there are good people that do this profession. We’re mindful fo the celebrities. We’re always concerned about their well-being. I would never do any harm.”
Attorney Gloria Allred, who was with Lechmanik at the press conference, backed up her client, noting that photographers should be able to do their jobs without being “interfered with by a celebrity.”
“Professional photographers who earn their living by being photographers have the right to do that without being interfered with by a celebrity,” Allred said. “He can express his displeasure using words, but he does not have a right to grab someone else’s property — in fact, that property being that tool used by a photographer to make his or her living as a photographer — and stop them from earning a living by filming what is going on at that moment. He needs to understand he was in a public place. The street is a public place. Anyone has the right to film in a public place. If he doesn’t want to take the risk of being filmed, he can choose to stay in his home where he’ll have privacy.”