Kanye West is facing two class-action lawsuits and up to $30 million in damages after allegations that he failed to pay up to 1,000 performers and backstage staff at his ambitious Sunday Service shows.
The lawsuits, according to Page Six, relate to around 500 performers and 300 backstage workers who played a role in the rapper’s shows, which blend Christian worship with live performance.
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According to the lawsuit, West broke employment laws at his Hollywood Bowl opera Nebuchadnezzar in November 2019, relating to performers and backstage crew such as make-up artists, hair stylists and costume designers.
The allegations are said to include failing to pay hundreds of employees on time, or not at all, as well as not delivering the overtime wages, meal and rest breaks and business expenses to which employees were legally entitled.
One of the lawsuits, filed by LA employment lawyer Frank Kim, focuses on 500 performers. The other, filed by entertainment attorneys Harris & Ruble, reportedly centres on 300 backstage workers.
Hair stylist Raina Leon and performer Michael Pearson have both represented employees, and allege that they were not paid and failed to secure the rest breaks they were entitled to.
Pearson also claims that some performers were forced to sit on the floor during ten-hour days because there were not enough chairs provided.
A source told The Sun: “When you do things last minute, it’s disorganised, mistakes will happen. When Kanye West does a production, he just says to his guys: ‘Make it happen,’ he has different teams of people to do things, and when you’re under that amount of pressure, you cut corners. Anything with film or music production, they do the art first, it’s a case of ‘let’s get the production done and worry if it’s legal later.”
West is yet to comment on the latest lawsuit.