Kanye West had an awkward moment at his concert Friday night in Sydney, Australia, when he insisted that everyone in the audience stand up, including two handicapped people in wheelchairs.
A YouTube video of the incident shows the 37-year-old rapper ordering everyone in the audience to stand up for the next song. Kanye told the crowd everyone should be on their feet “unless you got a handicap pass where you get special parking and s**t.”
After warning fans that he could spot anyone who wasn’t on their feet, Kanye notices two audience members who are still seated. West waits for them to stand and even incites other people in the crowd to start chanting for the two to get up from their seats.
After declaring, “This is the longest I’ve had to wait to do the song — it’s unbelievable,” Kanye sent a member of his security team to see what was wrong — which drew boos from the crowd. It turned out that one of the people who remained seated had a prosthetic limb and the other was in a wheelchair.
After learning that the two fans were unable to stand, West continued with his show.
The incident has drawn some criticism online, but a source tells People magazine the whole thing is being blown out of proportion.
“There was no malicious attempt to offend,” says the source, adding, “Anyone that has been to a Kanye concert knows that he asks for crowd participation.”
West had a more positive experience with a handicapped fan at his Austin, Texas, concert this past June. Elliot Briones, a disabled young man, was having difficulty seeing the stage, so Kanye gave him his mic after the show as a keepsake.
“I was in the second row. There were a lot of people blocking me, and Kanye noticed,” Briones told E! News, at the time, adding that after the show, “Kanye told the security guard to give me the mic.”
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