A South Korean eyewear brand believes that they have been bamboozled by an associate of Kanye West who they say deceived them into believing he had the muscle to bring top artists into the fold to produce a project for the global brand.
Gentle Monster collaborated on a music project with G.O.O.D Music associate Malik Yusef to promote a song for a new product called “Collection 13” that he reportedly co-wrote and co-produced with West called “13 MUSIC”.
Except Kim Kardashian begged to differ and took to social media to clear up the claim that her husband was involved, saying that West had nothing to do with producing the project. Gentle Monster ultimately removed the track.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the company filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Yusef and others alleging fraud and breach of contract.
The lawsuit says in part: “Yusef used his seemingly close relationship with Kanye West to deceive Gentle Monster into believing that he could bring some of the world’s most talented artists together to produce a series of videos designed to increase Gentle Monster’s global brand recognition.”
According to the lawsuit, Yusef engaged in a number of deceitful measures that Susan Leader, one of the lawyers for Gentle Monster, describes as the “Defendants’ deception was both flagrant and brazen,” she writes in the complaint.
“Specifically, they forged Kanye’s signature, created a shell entity named after Kanye’s deceased mother, issued fraudulent invoices made to appear as though they had been issued by legitimate talent agencies, lied about their contacts and work with artists, and, in the end, pocketed more than $2.5 million from Gentle Monster.”
Early on Yusef apparently arranged a meeting with West and Gentle Monster CEO Won Lee in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But that was the only meeting the two had.
Yusef however, is said to have executed a notarized Universal Music Publishing Group agreement with the company, authorizing the release of a song entitled “New Angels”. He also fraudulently submitted a copy of Kanye’s driver’s license. Even though the paperwork had West’s signature, it’s alleged that it was all signed by Yusef.
The company sent Yusef $2.5 million as part of their agreement to get talent for their release. Some $500,000 of that was sent to Donda Social Agency, Inc., a charity they believed was associated with West. That charity had apparently been dissolved and in June of 2018, the name of the organization was changed to Art of Culture, Inc.