Campaign in Chaos: Kanye West Just Wants to Be ‘Left Alone’

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Reuters
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Reuters

When Kanye West and his white nationalist adviser Nick Fuentes dined with Donald Trump last fall, the iconic rapper and quixotic 2024 presidential candidate managed to grab all the wrong kinds of headlines.

But since that Mar-a-Lago summit, Kanye West—now preferring to go simply by “Ye”—hasn’t managed to grab much attention at all. And the disappearing spotlight, according to people close to West’s operation, is because his presidential campaign has been on hold for months amid a civil war among West’s lieutenants and a lack of interest from the megastar himself.

As other Republican presidential hopefuls ramp up their White House bids, West’s political team of far-right influencers has found a new foe: each other. After once working together to elect West—or at least get him more attention through media appearances on fringe outlets like InfoWars—West campaign staffers like Fuentes, Jan. 6 rally organizer Ali Alexander, and British provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos have turned on one another.

Meanwhile, West has remained largely silent about his political future, appearing to focus instead on his new marriage to Bianca Censori, a former designer at his shoe company, and his private Christian school, Donda Academy.

Drake’s New Track Is a Direct Provocation of Kanye West

West’s marriage, which was first reported in January, coincided with a marked dip in the rapper’s interest in his campaign, according to one employee.

Adam Camacho, who told The Daily Beast that West hired him as a documentary producer in November 2022, said the informal campaign has been a communications nightmare.

In February, Camacho tried to contact West to ask if his contract working for the rapper would be extended. (Camacho provided The Daily Beast a copy of a November paycheck that Yeezy LLC made out to his studio company, Filmgrain Studios.)

“I couldn’t get a hold of him,” Camacho said.

Eventually, Camacho did reach West, who Camacho claims wired him money to extend his agreement. But Camacho has had little to do since West’s campaign seems to be on hiatus.

Camacho recalled West telling him that he was too focused on other ventures, like the sushi-only Donda Academy.

“Right now, I am living my life—like I’m concentrating on the school, The Donda Academy, and my new wife, and my kids, and that’s it,” West told Camacho, according to the filmmaker. “I just want to be left alone.”

“He’s not focusing on any of the political stuff right now,” the producer continued.

Another person who spoke with West about his candidacy said the rapper’s political operation is no more.

“His interests are focused on his children, family, and creative endeavors,” said this person, who spoke to the Daily Beast on the condition of anonymity due to their closeness to the rapper. “Anyone that is representing Ye in any political capacity is a charlatan. There is no political shop.”

Attempts to reach West through his attorneys were unsuccessful.

To the extent that it ever existed, West’s campaign earned most of its headlines for the far-right influencers West brought into his orbit. That group included Alexander, Yiannopoulos, and Fuentes, as well as anti-Muslim activist and failed Republican congressional candidate Laura Loomer.

After publication, Loomer disputed that she was ever in West's orbit, though she confirmed that he had offered her a job.

“I never worked for the Ye campaign, and I never attempted to work for the Ye campaign," Loomer said. "As a free speech absolutist, I don’t believe anyone should be banned and deplatformed for their speech. Ye approached me and asked me to work on his campaign, and I politely declined, because I endorsed President Donald Trump and I’m supporting President Trump in his 2024 re-election efforts.”

These members of West’s new entourage joined him in shambolic interviews with right-wing personalities like Alex Jones and Tim Pool, the latter of which ended with West and Yiannopoulos storming out. Nearly as soon as the campaign began, however, West’s operatives began to turn on each other. In December, Yiannopoulos was fired from West’s campaign, seemingly replaced by Alexander. And with West's campaign basically dormant, Alexander has had little to do on the rapper’s behalf.

Kanye West: Jonah Hill ‘Made Me Like Jewish People Again’

But each side has accused the other of plundering West’s campaign for money. On his way out of the campaign, Yiannopoulos reportedly demanded a $116,000 payment from West, ultimately receiving roughly $50,000 in total, according to campaign finance reports. Fuentes has accused Yiannopoulos of running up hotel bills worth tens of thousands of dollars on Fuentes’ credit card during the campaign—a claim that Yiannopoulos acknowledges, though he insists he tried to reimburse Fuentes.

“Milo was trying to get over $100,000 in payment for 10 days’ work,” Loomer told The Daily Beast. “The fact of the matter is no one gets paid that much money in 10 days, and you know now he’s back to—he trashes everybody that basically does not want to work with him.”

The tit-for-tat feuding has taken on other, stranger dimensions on Telegram, the social media network popular with far-right figures banned from more mainstream platforms.

Last week, text messages between Yiannopoulos and Fuentes leaked onto Telegram and Twitter. The messages flattered Yiannopoulos’ narrative that he played a sort of mentor role to the younger white nationalist leader. Yiannopoulos embraced the leak, which also included a potentially embarrassing exchange where Yiannopoulos advised Fuentes on how to make up for his short stature.

Alexander and Fuentes did not return requests for comment.

This month, however, the fight over the ruins of West’s campaign turned more serious. The rival sides lobbed unconfirmed accusations that their enemies had participated in various improper activities. Yiannopoulos even set up a hotline asking for dirt on Alexander.

“I was disappointed by, and am now disgusted with, my former protégé,” Yiannopoulos added in a lengthy statement to The Daily Beast. “Nicholas has shown himself incapable of humility, growth, gratitude, strategy, teamwork, political judgment, and basic honesty.”

Amid the fighting, Alexander has portrayed himself on social media as still close to West’s presidential bid. But Camacho, the producer, doubts there’s much of a presidential run to speak of.

“Ali is all over Twitter representing Ye, as if he’s part of his campaign, all this stuff,” Camacho said. “And it’s completely bullshit.”

Netanyahu Slams Dinner Between Trump and Nick Fuentes, Kanye West

While West’s own operation is in chaos, those around Trump aren’t worried about him being much of a potential 2024 challenger.

“Kanye West’s presidential campaign has been as well prepared as his albums since My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” a Republican operative supporting the Trump campaign told The Daily Beast. “I hope he was sincere about Jonah Hill changing his worldview and he gets the help he needs. He is not a challenger or a concern but a troubled musician.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here

Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.

Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.