Why was Kanye West’s publicist harassing a Georgia election official?

If Ye was really involved in pressuring a 62-year-old woman to falsely admit to election fraud, it might be his worst offense yet.

American rapper and producer Kanye West embraces real estate developer and US President Donald Trump...
Consolidated News Pictures/Archive Photos/Getty Images

The 2020 presidential election is more than a year gone, yet with each passing day we learn more and more about what actually took place during those frantic, helter-skelter months between when people cast their ballots and when Joe Biden finally took the oath of office. And, as befits the waning weeks of a presidency marked by narcissistic lunacy and alleged illegality, the last gasps of the Trump administration brought with them a suite of truly bonkers moments.

But of all the revelations about just what went on in those intervening days after Donald Trump’s electoral defeat and his exit from office, none has felt quite so appropriately bizarre as the revelation that a Georgia election official smeared by the then-president’s team as having committed voter fraud (she didn’t) answered her door one afternoon to find a publicist for rapper/shoe-mogul/sorta candidate himself Kanye West (??!!!) demanding she admit to falsifying election results in her state. “It’s just a matter of time that they are going to come out for me and my family,” the election official told a 911 dispatcher at the time, citing what the person told her.

According to legal documents, police reports, and interviews with 62-year-old Ruby Freeman, the election worker targeted by the Trump campaign as the reason he lost Georgia, Reuters has pieced together one of the weirdest chapters of the nebulous efforts by the former president and his allies to overturn the election results. Per Reuters’s reporting, Trevian Kutti appeared on Freeman’s doorstep on Jan. 4, 2021, identifying herself as a “crisis manager” sent by an unnamed “high-profile individual,” to help Freeman weather the barrage of threats that followed the Trump team’s allegations.

Understandably suspicious, Freeman eventually called the police, who suggested the two women (and an unnamed male accomplice of Kutti) come to the precinct to talk. There, video reviewed by Reuters shows Kutti badgering and threatening Freeman to agree with the Trump campaign’s allegations, saying at one point, “I cannot say what specifically will take place. I just know that it will disrupt your freedom, and the freedom of one or more of your family members.”

“You are a loose end for a party that needs to tidy up,” Kutti continued, warning later that “if you don’t tell everything you’re going to jail.”

It was only after Freeman grew suspicious of the encounter and left that she googled Kutti’s name and discovered this allegedly benevolent figure was actually a member of the “Young Black Leadership Council under President Donald Trump” and had been hired by Kanye West as his publicist in 2018, after a stint working for alleged child molester R. Kelly. It’s unclear whether she remains in West’s employ — Kutti did not respond to Reuters’s request for comment, although a Woman’s Global Initiative page identifying her as a member of the organization’s team states she “now serves as West’s director of operations.” West ended his own quixotic presidential campaign several months before Kutti and Freemen met.

As befits much of the cloak-and-dagger weirdness of the Trump campaign and its allies’ efforts to subvert the 2020 election results, this whole episode is both frustratingly bizarre and tantalizingly incomplete. It remains entirely unclear who dispatched Kutti, and how exactly she ended up on Freeman’s doorstep, and whether her involvement extended beyond this one discrete incident. What is clear, however, is that she was not entirely dishonest in her warnings about Freeman’s safety. Just one day after the two women met, an FBI agent reportedly contacted Freeman to encourage her to leave her home ahead of an unspecified threat. The next day, Freeman claimed in a lawsuit obtained by Reuters, her home was swarmed by angry Trump supporters.