Alex Klein, the founder of Stem Player, declined to say he’d cut ties with Kanye West today in a Q&A on Discord.
Last year, West’s album “Donda 2” was included in the $200 Stem Player.
Klein said that West had not made an investment in his company, Kano Computing. He said he was against hate speech — I’m paraphrasing — but hedged when he was asked by people on Discord if he would cut ties. “I don’t believe in that,” Klein said.
“Ye is an incredible artist and I’m a Ye fan,” Klein said. “It’s very difficult to collaborate with someone who’s telling lies that resulted in your family members being killed,” Klein conceded. Would he work again with West, who he called “Ye” over and over during the hour plus discussion? “Never say never.”
Klein’s discussion with at least 200 people listening seemed naive to me. He’s afraid of making a definitive statement about West, whose antisemitic statements have caused many companies to sever their relationships with him. He did say that new devices from the company would not carry the Yeezy brand name.
“Donda 2,” however, will remain on the Stem Player, Klein says. “There’s nothing on it that’s antisemitic.”
But Klein would not commit to ending the relationship, and seemed to want to keep the door open to working with West should he somehow come around, apologize for offending a whole race of people and agree to work against hate speech.
So far West has not indicated any interest in this. I think Klein will have trouble getting new customers for his electronic products until he confronts this situation– especially if, as he says, he’s going to sell shares in the company possibly via crowdfunding.
A new Stem Player, without West’s music, and associated products will be available shortly. PS What is a Stem Player? It’s an audio device that lets you take music uploaded to it and reorganize it by vocals, music, etc. The new products include a mini projector.
What Klein said about Kanye West, whom he called “Ye” (promounce “Yay”)
from the transcript:
…”I mean you know I still care about Ye I don’t want him to I pray for you and I pray I pray that we can meet again in fellowship and and I’II pray that he is given a spirit of warmth and kindness that I know hes been given before and it’s given that the correct information because good engineering is about having correct information and acting upon it and mine is only as good as the information it receives but you know at the end of the day as long as what’s flowing through Ye is is hatred towards a particular ethnic group and if that’s such a major racial enough that focus of his work it’s gonna be very hard for us to collaborate creatively because that’s just not what I feel and we know we feel it’s a company…”