Legal Question of the Day: Can Kanye West Face Legal Action For His MTV Conduct?

t1home.kanye.swift.02.giThe video below shows what would be considered rude and brutish conduct in every culture from the American society to the Klingon society. But was it actionable?

When Kanye West grabbed country-pop star Taylor Swift’s mike at the ceremony, there may have been a minor assault but the most likely charge, if any was brought, would be disorderly conduct. West was photographed drinking heavily at the event and committed an act of trespass on the stage. Fans have been charged with disturbing the peace for storming a concert stage and I am not sure why West should not receive such a charge.

On the civil side, there is no real strong claim. There is assault (weak) as well as intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress (also relatively weak). Trespass to chattel for the mike is weak and would run to the show not Swift.

This is not the first time for such egregious conduct for West — further supporting the call for possible legal action.

He stormed onstage at the 2006 MTV Europe Music Awards when the award did not go to his single “Touch the Sky.”

He screaming that the video “cost a million dollars and Pamela Anderson was in it.”

West does not seem particularly contrite on his blog, saying “I gave my awards to Outkast when they deserved it over me,” he said, referring to the 2007 BET Awards, when he tried to give his trophy to the band. I’m not crazy y’all, I’m just real.” Actually, as counsel, I would recommend not letting that insanity defense go just yet.

For the video, click here or here.

This is of course not the first time that a major entertainment or sporting event has been interrupted. Nevadan James Miller (known as “Fan Man”) interrupted the boxing match between Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield with a paraglider and mechanical fan. He also flew into a football game and was charged with “interfering with a sporting event.” He later disappeared for a while, here. In the boxing incident, he was beaten badly by the fans and a security officer struck Miller 20 times. He was later charged with dangerous flying.

David Niven had to deal with a streaker in the 1974 Academy Awards. Unlike West those individuals can be charged with indecent exposure.

For the story, click here.

23 thoughts on “Legal Question of the Day: Can Kanye West Face Legal Action For His MTV Conduct?”

  1. Kanye is incredibly untalented. He is gifted with non-talent. The man is a living testament to how low our standards regarding “talent” have sunk.

    Also, I think he may be mentally unbalanced.

    But with regard to his total lack of singing ability, witness his appearance on SNL (Google it) when they forgot to turn on his “auto-tune” device that changes the pitch of the singer into the key and notes they are haplessly not singing. Cher is notorious for the auto-tune in her short-lived singing career in the 90’s. Auto-tune creates a robotic-sounding song that lets everyone who has worked as a music engineer know that you can’t actually sing.

    What is amusing is that he came out on stage most concerned about who had the best VIDEO. I realize it is the VMA (Video Music Awards) but is that really how we judge artists today?

    Kanye needs Auto-tune as his crutch because he simply can’t sing a note. But people love it anyway. It’s a sad state of affairs, both for artists, and for the people who have been systematically conditioned to actually consider them talented artists.

    As Woody said in Annie Hall, “They give awards for that music? I thought just ear plugs.”

  2. Kanye is obviously out of control, but I can’t see any legal claims that Taylor could use. Being embarrassed by an idiot doesn’t rank very high on my tort list.

  3. WoW, I had not seen that vid, the larger than life multi-colored (more complete) Goddess figures played off the grayed-out male figures and sterility of KW’s modern appt and dress is an outstanding bit of visual commentary. WoW, Thanks for the clip Swarthmore mom. Cool stuff.

    Like he’s the first artist to have a drinking problem and poor impulse control? He needs to do some serious public penance and write Ms. Swift a letter of contrition, like every other day for the next year, and have them delivered with flowers and chocolates. Easing back on the booze wouldn’t hurt either.

  4. I’ll even concede the toad has a modicum of talent. It’s just not enough to compensate for his personality.

  5. I’ve been in contact with the Klingon Empire I have been assured had West done this at one of their awards show they would have killed him and eaten his liver on stage. Not his heart as that would have allowed him an honorable enough death to enter Stovokor (Klingon Heaven, think Valhalla on steroids).

    I suggest MTV adopt the Klingon Rule in re “Mr.” West’s future appearances.

    At least Beyonce had the grace to try to salvage the incident.

  6. TooBad: “Too bad that low-lives like that black man can get into the lime light and steal what is clearly not his.”

    A bit of (Freudian) Teabagger, Birther, 10er rhetoric eh dude? Boorish behavior is color-blind as evidenced by Rep. Wilson, Coulter, Bachmann, Beck/Billo/Boortz/Rush et al.

  7. that young lady needs some lessons from Keith Richards on how to handle stage interruptions


  8. Too bad that low-lives like that black man can get into the lime light and steal what is clearly not his. That young lady’s lawyers should sue for everything he’s got, and it isn’t brains or talent from what others have been saying. In the old days this would have gotten him a severe wooping out backstage. I’m so glad for Beyonce showing the class and style that she did to the young lady at her award. They need to spruce up security at these events to keep slime-balls like that man from doing things like that.

  9. This whole incident strikes me as a prank, Emminem and Bruno did something similar not long ago. Concider the following.

    1 Kanye was placed very close to the stage.
    2 The mike was not cut, nobody tried to stop Kanye, in spite of his history.
    3 Taylors performance was outdoors, so she could not comment.
    4 Beyonce and Taylor wore matching outfits.

    In other words I smell a rat.

  10. Come on, this is a guy who had a co-author help him write a 65 page book entitled “Tahnk You And You’re Welcome”. You think people post funny things on this blog? Check out the reviews of his latest masterpiece on Amazon.

    This really just a case of a mentally challenged person slipping away from his handlers. I just glad he didn’t wander into traffic.

  11. I watched (in horror) several years ago when Beyonce (on some award show) absolutely butchered a song that she sang as a duet with Josh Groban. It was embarrassing to watch, not to mention an assault on the ears.

  12. I must admit that I have never heard a single song by any of these people, so I have no idea about their talent.

    But this Kanye dude is an asshole of immense proportion. This goes without saying…

  13. “intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress (also relatively weak).”

    I’m no torts guru, but don’t you have to show physical injury to recover under negligent infliction? Like going into shock? At least that’s how it’s taught in New York.

  14. Kanye West’s biggest problem isn’t his boorish behavior, but his utter, complete, transparent, and hopeless lack of talent. All other sins can be forgiven in la-la land but not that one.

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