The family of George Floyd has apparently followed through on a rumored plan to file suit against Kanye West for his comments about the late Floyd, who was murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis who knelt on his neck for nearly 10 minutes. Floyd’s death galvanized protests against police brutality in the summer of 2020, his dying words — “I can’t breathe” — becoming a rallying cry for the protestors.
However, on a recent episode of the Drink Champs podcast, West stated incorrectly that Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose, parroting white supremacist propaganda designed to undermine the fight for justice in Floyd’s name. The trope, which was based on findings from an autopsy report that mentioned possible recent use of the drug, plays on existing racist stereotypes of Black people as drug addicts in order to deflect the blame for Floyd’s death away from the officers’ use of excessive force — essentially blaming the victim, and undermining protests for justice (which is the whole point).
However, multiple autopsies confirmed that Floyd died from a heart attack caused by asphyxia — the inability to breathe.
Now, according to a press release from the Witherspoon Law Group and Dixon & Dixon Attorneys at Law, Roxie Washington, acting on behalf of her minor child, the sole beneficiary of Floyd’s estate, has filed suit against Kanye West, seeking $250 million in damages. The suit argues that Kanye’s comments on Drink Champs consituted “harassment, misappropriation, defamation, and infliction of emotional distress,” and also names West’s “business partners and associates,” according to the press release.
In the wake of the backlash against the podcast airing, NORE apologized, saying, ““I felt like I could control the interview. And I learned early on that I [couldn’t]. As a Black man, I feel like I failed. As a human, I feel like I failed.”