Video Interview: Kanye West
Rapper Kanye West and his road manager were arrested this morning at Los Angeles International Airport on suspicion of vandalism after they confronted two paparazzi and smashed the men's cameras, authorities said.
The incident took place about 7:50 a.m. outside the passenger security screening area in Terminal 4, said LAX spokeswoman Nancy Castles.
Initial reports said the incident involved "a commercial photographer, 'paparazzi' " and a camera worth more than $10,000, according to Castles.
Airport police said the confrontation started when a videographer from TMZ, the celebrity gossip website, and a still photographer from a paparazzi agency approached West and his road manager, Don Crowley, on the curb outside the terminal. West and Crowley were arriving at the airport for a commercial flight to Honolulu, officials said.
At least part of the incident was by a TMZ cameraman who was at the airport. The video clip was posted to TMZ.com this morning.
In the video, West and Crowley are shown yelling at the paparazzi and struggling with the still photographer for his camera and its flash before slamming it to the ground. At that point, as the TMZ videographer continues to shoot, Crowley appears to grab at the video camera.
West was taken by police to the LAPD's Pacific Division station, where Castles said he was expected to be booked. In addition to the vandalism allegation, authorities initially said they had arrested Crowley on suspicion of battery but said later that a preliminary investigation determined no battery had occurred.
"There's no battery. We have a property crime, that's it," said Sgt. Jim Holcomb of the Los Angeles Airport Police.
The incident caused delays of about 15 to 20 minutes for passengers waiting to get through security. People waiting in line could see West, who was wearing a hooded sweat shirt, standing nearby with about 10 police officers.
A security guard told those waiting that there had been a loud argument between West and photographers.
A representative for West's record label, Island Def Jam, declined to comment on the incident this morning.
West, 31, rose to fame on the success of his 2004 debut album, "The College Dropout," a Grammy nominee for album of the year.
Even in rap, which is dominated by brash stars, West is a known for his flashes of temper. He stormed out of the American Music Awards in 2004 when he did not win the trophy for best new artist and later went on a rant to reporters about a conspiracy against him.
During a telethon to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, West said: "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
In 2006, West barged onstage at the MTV Europe Awards during the acceptance speech by another act and again protested that he had been wronged by voters. He has also gone after music critics and publications that have, in his opinion, undervalued his work.
Last year, for instance, he published an R-rated rant on his blog taking Entertainment Weekly to task for daring to give his concert tour a B+ rating in its review.
West has said he enjoys the role of provocative artist, telling Rolling Stone -- when he appeared on that magazine's cover wearing a crown of thorns -- "If I was more complacent and I let things slide, my life would be easier, but you all wouldn't be as entertained. My misery is your pleasure."
His mother Donda West, 58, died late last year after undergoing cosmetic surgery, in a case that drew scrutiny of the surgeon who performed the procedures.
West, who has said little publicly about her death, gave a moving performance of his song "Hey Mama" during this year's Grammy ceremony in February.
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