Volatile ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith unleashed on Kanye West today, asking whether Jewish people helped him or hurt him in his business deals.
Smith spoke on his Know Mercy podcast today in the wake of West’s embattled week of interviews, in which the rapper’s comments cost him several business deals and widespread condemnation.
The outspoken Smith said he has revised his stance on West. He added that other ethnic groups have a right to express indignation.
“West continued his rhetoric that Jewish people are the reason for his bad business deals, and for the backlash he has received,” Smith said. “I thought the brother was worth billions. What you mean? What bad deals? How many bad deals did you have if you’re worth $7 billion? How many bad deals did you have if you’re worth, if you’re calling yourself the richest black man in American history? How many bad deals did you have? What do you mean? Which way is it, Kanye? If Jewish folks are at fault for the bad business deals that cost you money, how are you saying that while bragging about being the richest black man in American history? Which one is it? Either they helped you or hurt you. They helped you or they hurt you. Pick one. They did both? That’s what they did? Really, really?”
Smith also backed away from his prior statements that West appeared untouchable to criticism.
I was of the mindset that you know what… y’all can complain all day ‘til the cows come home. You can’t touch him. He’s worth $6.6 billion according to some publications. To Forbes, I believe it was worth about $7 billion. If the man’s worth $7 billion and he never has to worry about paying another bill in his entire life, how the hell are you going to touch him?”
But Smith claimed he now realizes that at the least, West deserves condemnation.
“I think it’s safe to say he did a little bit more than that now. And ladies and gentlemen, I gotta tell you something, I don’t enjoy this. This is a black man that’s been incredibly, unbelievably successful. But when you’re wrong, you’re wrong. When you’re incendiary, you’re incendiary. When you’re insensitive, you’re insensitive. And when you see him oblivious or indifferent to history and the impact that it has on any group of people in this world, Black, white, Jews, gentile, it don’t matter. Latinos, Asian Americans, or whatever, you gotta be called on the carpet for it, especially when you don’t seem to have an apologetic bone in your body. And that’s where we are with Kanye West as we sit here right now. Cause ladies and gentlemen, excuse my language, but this shit is bad. This is really, really bad, what he has been doing.”
Smith concluded his show with a prediction.
“I sincerely hope that Kanye West can get it together, but I’ve gotta admit, I’m sincerely doubting. He’s gonna pull that off after this. Folks are coming for him now, and they don’t care about his money. They care about his voice, they want it silenced. And guess what? They might be able to pull it off. And there’s not a damn single one of us that’s gonna be able to say or do anything in his defense because when we tried to warn him, he accused us of being puppets.”