‘He has no right to attack me’

A paparazzi photographer is suing Ye – the musician formerly known as Kanye West – for assault, battery and negligence after he was caught on camera taking her phone and throwing it in the street.

The photographer, Nichol Lechmanik, says he was just doing his job as a celebrity photojournalist when he was capturing Ye’s content.

more of the variety

“He reached into my car as if he was going to hit me, grabbed my phone from my hand and angrily threw it into the street,” Lechmanik said Thursday at a news conference. “He caused so much fear that I haven’t been the same since.”

Lechmanik filed a lawsuit this week in Ventura County Superior Court near Los Angeles, California, which was obtained by Variety.

The freelance photographer previously called 911 and filed a police report following the incident. Following an investigation earlier this year, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office said Lechmanik refused to press charges against Ye. But now, in his lawsuit, the paparazzo is seeking damages, claiming he suffered “great mental and emotional pain” and was prevented from doing his job, thus suffering from “lost earnings”. The lawsuit says Ye’s conduct was “intentional, arbitrary and malicious”.

The incident took place on January 27, 2023, when Ye was outside a sports academy in Ventura County, where he was watching his daughter’s basketball game. His ex-wife Kim Kardashian was also in the game. According to the lawsuit, after Lechmanik took pictures of Kardashian entering the gym, she noticed Ye outside her vehicle “angrily confronting” another photographer on the street and began filming her alleged cell phone incident.

“Given Defendant Ye’s reputation for violence against photographers, his history of physically assaulting them, and based on his threatening body language, Plaintiff feared for the photographers’ safety,” the lawsuit states, adding that she remained in the driver’s seat when started filming. . Her associate was sitting in the passenger seat next to her and was also filming from his phone when Ye walked towards the car. “She didn’t want to get out of the car because she was afraid of Defendant Ye,” the lawsuit says, stating that when Ye started walking toward the car, her “nervousness increased.” When he approached her car, the lawsuit claims, he was “speaking aggressively” and became “furious”.

“You’re not going to run me over like that,” Ye told Lechmanik, which is stated in the lawsuit and can be heard in the footage. “If I say stop… stop your cameras.” The photographer responded to Ye by explaining that he is a celebrity, implying that she was just doing her job.

“He reached into Plaintiff’s car and snatched the phone from her hands. In doing so, plaintiff was afraid that Defendant Ye had a weapon or hit her,” the lawsuit reads. “Defendant Ye then threw his phone into the street towards oncoming traffic” and gave a “death stare” before walking away.

On Thursday, accompanied by her lawyer, Gloria Allred, the photographer was moved when speaking at a press conference.

“He has no right to assault me, beat me or make me afraid to follow my profession,” said Lechmanik. “I want Ye to know that he cannot do what he did to me without facing the consequences. I am determined to stand up for myself so he knows he must change his abominable behavior.”

When asked by a reporter about the idea of ​​violating a celebrity’s privacy, she said that she has been working as a photographer for 10 years and always respects her famous models. “I just think people don’t understand the struggles we go through as photographers,” she said. “I’ve never had another incident like this with any other celebrity… I just want people to know that there are good people who do this profession. We are attentive to celebrities. We are always concerned about their well-being. I would never do any harm.”

Allred insisted that Ye is interfering with his client’s livelihood. She said Lechmanik hopes to set a precedent for other paparazzi photographers who put up with celebrity misbehavior at work.

“Professional photographers who make their living being photographers have the right to do so without celebrity interference,” said Allred. Speaking of Ye, she said: “He can express his displeasure using words, but he has no right to appropriate someone else’s property – in fact, this property is the tool used by a photographer to earn a living as a photographer. – and prevent them from making a living filming what is happening at that moment. He needs to understand that he was in a public place. The street is a public place. Anyone has the right to film in a public place. If he doesn’t want to risk being filmed, he can choose to stay at his house where he will have privacy.”

the best of variety

Sign up for Variety’s newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *