John Legend Breaks Silence on Kanye West’s ‘Harmful’ Behavior After Anti-Semitic Rants: He’s ‘Different’ Now

Following Kanye West's continued attacks on Jewish and Black people, John Legend says Ye's 'definitely changed,' and he doesn't recognize his friend anymore.

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Image Credit: Dave Allocca/Starpix/Shutterstock

“I do find him different than he was back then,” John Legend said of Kanye “Ye” West during the Nov. 3 episode of the New York Magazine podcast On With Kara Swisher (h/t Entertainment Tonight). John, 43, told host Kira Swisher that he “didn’t see hints of [Ye’s] harmful behavior” back when their friendship started, referring to the antisemitic and anti-Black rants that Ye, 45, has continued to post over the past weeks. “But, you know, I think life happens to people, and I think the death of his mother [Donda West in 2007] probably had something to do with this,” said John. “I don’t want to play armchair psychologist, but he’s definitely changed, and a lot of us who have known him over the years are really concerned about it.”

When asked if he was trying to help Ye or convince him to seek treatment, John revealed that he and Ye aren’t talking anymore. “I know people in his life that are [trying to help him], but we have lost touch,” said the crooner. “We have not been friends for a while now, and so I’m not personally doing anything, but I do know people who are, and a lot of people are concerned about him.”

Legend also said that forgiving Ye is important, but it shouldn’t come without him facing the consequences of his actions. “I think there’s always a place for forgiveness,” Legend said. “I believe that the forgiver needs to forgive, you know? Like it’s better for you, the person that feels like they’ve been harmed, to be able to forgive. Because if you can’t do that, it’s a weight on your life. And so I believe in forgiveness in general. That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t face consequences for what they do wrong. But I also do believe in forgiveness.”

Kanye and John in 2006 (Dave Allocca/Starpix/Shutterstock)

In August, John spoke about his fractured friendship with Ye. “I honestly think because we publicly disagreed on his running for office, his supporting [Donald] Trump,” Legend said on CNN’s The Axe Files podcast. “I think it became too much for us to sustain our friendship honestly. He was upset that I didn’t support his run for the Presidency of the United States of America. He was not happy about that, and we really haven’t been close since then.”

Ye returned to Instagram, only to be suspended again for 30 days after reportedly posting a screenshot of a conversation between him and (allegedly) Russell Summons. The Def Jam co-founder reportedly told Ye to “leave this fight” and “rebuild your biz” since Ye lost his billionaire status after Adidas and other brands abandoned him in the wake of those antisemitic comments. Ye reportedly posted a disparaging claim about “Jewish business people,” which resulted in his ban, per NBC News.

During his On With Kara Swisher appearance, John Legend also spoke about the dangers when people with wide-reaching platforms engage in this kind of antisemitic/anti-Black rhetoric. “I think we need to be clear about how insidious and nasty antisemitism is and has been for centuries,” he said. “How it’s caused millions and millions of deaths. It’s cropped up in societies all over the world, and it’s made life very difficult for Jews all over the world for a long time. And it is not some new discovery. It’s not some innovation in hate.”

“So when people who claim to be free thinkers or innovators or creative people just end up landing back at this centuries-old meme of using the same stereotypes and tropes to malign Jews and instigate harm against Jews — this is an old but very dangerous tactic that has resulted in a lot of harm and a lot of death for people.”

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