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Kanye West’s Donda Academy Abruptly Closes [UPDATED]

An email gave parents and students one day's notice

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kanye west donda academy closes christian prep school one day notice basketball
Kanye West, photo by Rich Fury/VF20/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

    Donda Academy, Kanye West’s $15,000-a-year Christian prep school which emphasized “real-world implementation,” basketball, and offered classes in parkour even as the founder publicly trashed reading, has abruptly closed mid-school year. It’s the latest of West’s projects to suddenly collapse following a string of bigoted and antisemitic comments.

    The announcement came in an email to parents giving them one day’s notice, and was subsequently confirmed by Insider and The Times UK. The closure statement read in part, “[A]t the discretion of our Founder, Donda Academy will close for the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year effective immediately, Thursday, October 27th. THERE IS NO SCHOOL TOMORROW.”

    The statement added, “We intend to begin afresh in September of 2023.” It did not mention refunds.

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    Update: Hours after the first email went out, a second email asked parents and students to “join us tomorrow morning in worship for the return of Donda Academy,” according to TMZ. It adds, “we are back and returning with a vengeance!” At this time, it’s unclear who sent which emails, and what state Donda Academy is in. We will update this article as more information becomes available.

    Some members of the student body had already moved on. After the Donda Academy was barred from participating in two high-profile basketball tournaments due to Ye’s antisemitic comments, at least one player sought out other options. Chuck Bailey, a three-star basketball recruit, wrote on October 27th, “Due to everything that has been going on with Mr. West, last week my family and I decided to part ways with Donda Academy.”

    West’s Instagram and Twitter accounts were restricted after he accused Diddy of being controlled by Jews and threatened to go “death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE,” respectively. But as of October 27th he had regained access to Instagram. In one since-deleted post, Ye confirmed, “My school is being shut down,” and took a shot at his former head of media and partnerships Jason Lee, writing “Here’s the clout you’re looking for.”

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    Lee quit after West wore apparel that said “WHITE LIVES MATTER” alongside conservative pundit Candace Owens. Since then, West has agreed to buy the failing right-wing social media platform Parler, the CEO of which is Owens’ husband. But the deal hasn’t closed, and Ye’s finances have drastically changed over the last few weeks.

    In an Instagram post targeted at Ari Emmanuel, the head of William Morris Endeavor who had written an op-ed decrying his antisemitic comments, Ye wrote, “Ari Emmanuel/ I lost 2 billion dollars in one day/ And I’m still alive/ This is love speech/ I still love you/ God still loves you/ The money is not who I am/ The people is who I am.”

    It’s unclear how West arrived at the number of $2 billion. According to Forbes, he actually lost $1.5 billion, most of it due to adidas ending their Yeezy partnership. His apparel has also been pulled from all Gap stores, Madame Tussaud removed his wax figurine, and Peloton stopped using his music. So far, he has had  trouble striking new deals. On October 26th, West was escorted out of the Skechers headquarters after showing up unannounced.

     

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