Purported billionaire Kanye West wants a cut of the paparazzi’s earnings.
The 44-year-old artist explained his stance Saturday during a run-in with photographers in Miami. Ye told the pap he wanted celebrities to take more control of their likeness—and one way to do this was by ensuring each star received a percentage of the money made from paparazzi photos and interviews.
“Right now y’all get to shoot us without having to pay. I’mma change that,” he said as he was leaving the airport. “I’m not saying it in a negative way. It’s just like, right now, it’s just really one-sided. You guys can follow us, you guys can stand [outside] a hotel at any given time—you don’t give us any percentage of what you’re making off of us, off of our kids, and I’m gonna change that.”
Kanye went on to explain that he owns his image, and is, therefore, entitled to a portion of any money his image racks in.
“We all gotta make money together … It can’t be a one-sided thing,” he said. “Look, if I’m just with my kids, I say I don’t want you to shoot me, then that’s just something y’all gotta respect … We can get that money together, but we gotta have a conversation.”
Ye went on to acknowledged that the current laws allow paparazzi to take photos of celebrities without permission—just as long as the photos are captured in a public setting. But Ye is looking to change that.
“I’m gonna make sure we get our rights ...” he said. “We’re real people, also.”
He then referenced his altercation with Justin Poplawski, a 40-year-old autograph-seeker who was allegedly punched by Kanye in Los Angeles this month. Ye, who was named the main suspect in the battery investigation, told the paparazzi on Saturday that Poplawski wasn’t a fan, but rather someone who was simply trying to make money off his name.
“I respect your job. My dad was a photographer at a newspaper … I love paparazzi,” he said. “But as Americans, we gotta respect each other. We gotta bring the pride back to this country.”
You can hear Kanye’s full comments below.