“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 grabbing his phone and throwing it in the street.

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

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“He reached into my car as if he was going to hit me, he snatched my phone from my hands and then angrily threw it in the street,” Lechmanik said at a press conference on Thursday. “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, Calif., which was obtained by Variety.

The freelance photographer had previously called 911 and filed a police report after the incident. Following an investigation earlier this year, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office said Lechmanik declined to press charges against Ye. But now, in her lawsuit, the paparazzo is seeking damages, saying she suffered ‘great mental and emotional pain’ and was prevented from doing her job, therefore suffering ‘loss of income’. “. The lawsuit says Ye’s conduct was “willful, gratuitous and malicious.”

The incident happened on Jan. 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 at the game. According to the lawsuit, after Lechmanik took photos of Kardashian entering the athletic academy, she noticed Ye outside her vehicle “angry confronting” another photographer on the street and began filming the photo. alleged incident from his mobile phone.

“Given Defendant Ye’s reputation for violence against photographers, his history of physical abuse and his threatening body language, the plaintiff grew to fear for the safety of the photographers,” the lawsuit states, adding that ‘she stayed in the driver’s seat when she started filming. . Her associate was sitting in the passenger seat next to her and also filming from his phone when Ye walked to their car. “She didn’t want to get out of her car because she was afraid of Defendant Ye,” the lawsuit says, stating that when Ye started walking towards her car, her “nervousness increased.” When he approached his car, the suit says, he was “talking aggressively” and became “enraged.”

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

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

Thursday, accompanied by her lawyer, Gloria Allred, the photographer was moved as she spoke at a press conference.

“He has no right to attack me, fight me or scare me to pursue my profession,” Lechmanik said. “I want Ye to know that he can’t do what he did to me without suffering the consequences. I’m determined to stand up for myself to let him know he needs to change his heinous behavior.

Asked by a reporter about the notion of breaching a celebrity’s privacy, she said she had worked as a photographer for 10 years and was always respectful of her famous subjects. “I just think people don’t understand the challenges we face as photographers,” she said. “I’ve never had another incident like this with another celebrity…I want people to know that there are good people out there doing this job. We think of celebrities. We are always concerned about their well-being. I would never hurt.

Allred insisted Ye was interfering with his client’s livelihood. She said Lechmanik hopes to set a precedent for other paparazzi photographers who experience bad behavior from celebrities on the job.

“Professional photographers who make a living by being photographers have the right to do so without being embarrassed by a celebrity,” Allred said. Speaking of Ye, she said, “He can express his displeasure using words, but he has no right to grab someone else’s property – in fact, that property being that tool used by a photographer to make a living as a photographer — and prevent them from making a living by filming what is happening at that moment. He must understand that he was in a public place. The street is a public place. Everyone has the right to film in a public place, if they don’t want to take the risk of being filmed, they can choose to stay at home where they will have privacy.

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