Law firm Greenberg Traurig latest to move to cut ties with Kanye West

One of the world’s largest law firms, Greenberg Traurig, has become the latest to begin the process of cutting ties with Kanye West in the wake of the rapper’s repeated anti-Semitic comments.

“We are taking steps in response to the reported remarks in accordance with ethical obligations and court rules,” the Florida-based firm, which is representing West’s companies in two ongoing cases, said in a statement.

“We condemn anti-Semitism and all hate speech or bigotry, which is repugnant to the core values we believe in and live,” it added.

Greenberg lawyers are defending West and his entities in a civil suit brought by Ultra International Music Publishing in the southern district of New York. The company alleges that “Flowers”, a track on West’s self-released 2022 album Donda 2, infringed copyright law by sampling a song written by musician Marshall Jefferson in 1986.

Greenberg is also defending West in a case brought in federal court in California by performers hired to work on the rapper’s Nebuchadnezzar opera at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl in 2019. The performers allege they were not paid the minimum wage or overtime and were not given adequate breaks.

While there are procedural hurdles to withdrawing from ongoing litigation, Greenberg is examining how it can drop West as a client in both cases.

“This firm was founded by individuals who faced discrimination and many of us lost ancestors because of that kind of hate and prejudice,” the company said in its statement, referring to Larry Hoffman, Mel Greenberg, and Robert Traurig, all of whom were Jewish.

The trio formed Greenberg Traurig in 1967, at a time when Jewish lawyers were still unwelcome in many “white-shoe” firms.

A representative for West could not be immediately reached for comment.

Greenberg’s move comes after Wall Street law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft publicly severed ties with West, just weeks after agreeing to represent his company Yeezy in a legal battle with Gap.

“We are not currently working on any matters for Ye, and we have made the decision not to work with him in the future,” Cadwalader said.

Several other large businesses have stopped doing business with West, who now goes by Ye, in the past few days. On Tuesday, Adidas said it was terminating its partnership with the rapper, in a move that could cost the German sportswear giant up to €250mn in lost profits.

Fashion brand Balenciaga and Hollywood talent agency CAA have also announced that they would terminate their business with West.