Kanye West’s Donda Academy abruptly closes amid antisemitism uproar: report

Kanye West arrives at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Feb. 9, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. EA ER

Students at Kanye West‘s tuition-based Christian private school will not complete the academic year after parents were notified of Donda Academy’s immediate closure on Wednesday, reports claim.

According to The Times of London, which obtained an email sent by the principal of Donda Academy, Jason Angell, the school will close for the remainder of the 2022-2023 year “at the discretion of our founder.”

The closure is effective as of Thursday.

West, who legally changed his name to Ye, established the school — named after his late mother Donda West — in August 2021 in Simi Valley, Calif., for students in kindergarten through to Grade 12.

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The school’s closure comes amid growing outrage surrounding several antisemitic remarks made by Ye, 45, over the last few weeks.

Angell told parents the school will “begin afresh” in 2023. “Our leadership team will be working diligently to assist all families during this transition, ensuring that every scholar has what they need to succeed in their next community in a prompt and gracious manner,” the email read.

“We are confident that our scholars will continue to advance as the creative innovators, courageous influencers and academic leaders of the next generation,” Angell concluded.

There is limited information publicly available about Ye’s unaccredited school. Rolling Stone reported in September that Donda Academy families are required to sign a nondisclosure agreement — and fork over US$15,000 (about $20,301) tuition per school year. Students are also required to wear light grey uniforms produced by the fashion house Balenciaga.

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The Times claimed there were fewer than 100 students and 13 full-time teachers at the school.

The Donda Academy website claims students learn “fundamentals, grow in their faith, and experience two enrichment classes.” Daily lessons included full school worship, language arts, math and science, and enrichment courses including world language, visual art, film, choir and even parkour.

Over the past month, outrage over Ye’s antisemitic comments has led to the cancellation of several of the rapper’s projects and resulted in widespread condemnation from dozens of celebrities.

Ye’s Twitter account was restricted this month after he tweeted that he would go “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.” (A reference to the defence readiness condition — DEFCON — used by the United States Armed Forces.) The tweet was removed for violating the app’s hate speech policy.

Ye’s Instagram account had earlier been restricted after he publicly suggested rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs was controlled by Jewish people.

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On Tuesday, Adidas cut ties with Ye following intense public pressure. Adidas claimed it will immediately stop production of all Yeezy-branded products and halt any payments to Ye.

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Following the end of Ye’s partnership with Adidas, Forbes reported that the rapper was no longer a billionaire. Ye’s super-exclusive, mega-popular Yeezy sneakers brought in massive annual profits for him and the German sports brand.

Ye, who is active on Instagram again, responded with a post, writing “I lost 2 billion dollars in one day / And I’m still alive.”

“Money is not who I am / The people is who I am,” he concluded.

He had earlier posted that he too, as Ye, had cut ties with Kanye West.

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On Wednesday, Ye visited the Sketchers head office in Los Angeles unannounced. The company said he was escorted off the property after he “engaged in unauthorized filming.”

“Skechers is not considering and has no intention of working with West,” the company said, adding that it condemned his recent antisemitic comments.

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Over the last month, BalenciagaVogue, the record label Def Jam, the major talent agency CAA and the movie studio MRC (which had financed and filmed a documentary about Ye) have all separated from the artist.

In September, Ye claimed he ended a 10-year contract with Gap after only two years because of “substantial noncompliance.” This week the company said it was taking immediate steps to remove its Yeezy Gap line from their stores.

As of this writing, Ye has not made any public comment about Donda Academy shuttering its doors.

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