Kanye West has been barred from performing at the Grammy Awards due to his “concerning online behavior,” a rep for the artist confirms to Variety. Reps for the Recording Academy and CBS, which present the Grammys, did not immediately respond to Variety‘s requests for comment on the claim early Saturday.
West’s rep cited a report in the Blast posted late Friday claiming that the artist’s team received a phone call Friday night informing him he had been “unfortunately” removed from the lineup of performers for the show due to his “concerning online behavior.” While West, who is up for five 2022 Grammy Awards, was not among the first list of performers announced on Tuesday, he may have been a planned performer. A rep for West sent Variety a link to that story, saying only “This is confirmed”; the rep did not respond to requests for further information, although the Blast report states, “Our sources say Kanye’s team isn’t surprised by the decision.”
Nor should they be. While Academy reps did not respond to requests for comment, there are many reasons why a Kanye West performance on live network television would be a prohibitively risky proposition. Based on his social media posts and activity in the past few months alone, he might use the stage to continue his online harassment of Pete Davidson, his estranged wife Kim Kardashian’s new boyfriend; he could attempt to lobby public sentiment for custody of his children; he could make some statement in support of accused sex offender Marilyn Manson or unrepentant homophobe DaBaby, both of whom he has featured at his recent concerts or listening events; he could make more misguided statements about slavery or revive his stumping for former President Trump. Conversely, he could use the platform to do something that isn’t self-serving, self-referential or sheer trolling, like when he unexpectedly said “George Bush doesn’t care about Black people” during a televised Hurricane Katrina fundraiser in 2005.