Kanye West has sparked outrage after bringing Marilyn Manson and DaBaby out on stage at his most recent listening event for his 10th studio album, despite the respective sexual assault and anti-gay allegations against them.
Kanye held his third listening party for his highly anticipated Donda album at Chicago’s Soldier Field on Thursday night, following two previous events of the same nature that took place in Atlanta over the past month.
As has come to be expected from Kanye’s performances, the third listening party provided plenty of moments for fans to discuss, including a moment where he set himself on fire, as well as a guest appearance from his former wife, Kim Kardashian West, wearing a wedding dress and veil.
However, the event invited a lot of controversy after fans noticed that Kanye was joined by both Marilyn Manson and DaBaby onstage at the beginning of the show.
The artists joined Kanye in the center of the stadium for the first song of the event — a decision which some fans are suggesting might be Kanye’s attempt at commentary on "cancel culture."
The trio, all wearing black ensembles, gathered on the porch of what looked to be a churchlike structure built for the event, surrounded by chained fences and black SUVs, and encircled by a large troupe of masked individuals wearing black Donda riot gear and full face masks.
Earlier in the week fans caught a glimpse of the construction of the set and theorized that the building was a replica of the rapper’s childhood home in Chicago, where he grew up with his mother, Donda.
While it's currently unclear why Kanye invited the artists to join him onstage, it's left fans outraged given the recent allegations against both men.
Manson is facing a string of lawsuits from multiple women alleging sexual assault and physical abuse, including his former partner Evan Rachel Wood.
In February, Wood named her abuser as Manson, having previously spoken out about the physical and sexual abuse she was subjected to by a former partner.
In an Instagram post, Wood alleged that Manson had “horrifically abused her” and referred to him as a “dangerous man.”
“The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson,” she wrote. “He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years. I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission.”
After he was subsequently dropped from his record label, Manson responded to Wood’s claims in an Instagram post, calling the allegations “horrible distortions of reality.”
Four other women subsequently came forward to accuse Manson of physical, mental, and sexual abuse. Two of them said their experiences had led to diagnoses of PTSD.
Meanwhile, DaBaby, who has collaborated with Kanye in the past, drew criticism for a series of anti-gay comments made in July.
Using derogatory language, the rapper spread extremely harmful misconceptions about HIV and AIDS during a festival performance, telling the crowd: “If you didn’t show up today with HIV, AIDS, any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that’ll make you die in two, three weeks, put your cellphone light up.”
He went on to target gay men specifically, in comments which were denounced by many as "dangerous and harmful" to the LGBTQ+ community.
DaBaby eventually issued an apology, which led to even more backlash as he continued to spread misinformation about those living with HIV and AIDS, and said that the people who were offended by his remarks were “bringing negative attention and energy” upon themselves.
Inevitably, fans were both confused and disappointed by Kanye’s decision to endorse Manson and DaBaby in light of the allegations against them, with many posting on Twitter to express their outrage.
While others theorized that the appearances from the disgraced artists was Kanye’s attempt to tackle “cancel culture.”
What’s more, DaBaby’s presence at the Donda listening party comes just weeks after Kanye seemingly condemned the rapper’s actions by removing a song, on which they had collaborated, from all streaming platforms.
Shortly after DaBaby’s anti-gay remarks, it was reported by Variety that Kanye’s “Nah Nah Nah” remix, which features both DaBaby and 2Chainz, had disappeared from all streaming platforms.
To make matters even more complicated, fans were surprised to hear a guest verse from DaBaby on Kanye’s track “Jail,” which appeared to replace Jay-Z’s verse on the song that had been heard at the previous two listening events.
Once again, fans turned to Twitter to express their disappointment that Kanye had altered the album to replace Jay’s verse with DaBaby.
But given that Kanye is known for making last-minute alterations to his records, it remains unclear whether DaBaby’s feature will actually make it onto the final album, which at the time of writing, remains unreleased.