Kanye West says he does not have "one regret" about what has become his infamous interruption of pop and country star Taylor Swift's acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards and adds that he had apologized for it after giving in to peer pressure.The 36-year-old rapper made his comments to the New York Times in an interview published earlier this week, more than three and a half years after the incident, which marked one of the most controversial moments in pop culture over the past few years.
"If anyone's reading this waiting for some type of full-on, flat apology for anything, they should just stop reading right now," he told the newspaper in an interview published on June 11.
The reporter mentioned to West that he had apologized for the incident (see examples, below). "Yeah, I think that I have like, faltered, you know, as a human. My message isn't perfectly defined. I have, as a human being, fallen to peer pressure," he replied.
When asked if he "gave in to peer pressure to apologize," he said: "Yeah."
Swift has not commented about his remarks.
Kanye West - Taylor Swift incident and backlash: Timeline
- Sept. 13, 2009 - MTV Video Music Awards shocker
- 2010 MTV Video Music Awards
- 2011 MTV Video Music Awards
- 2012 BET Awards
During the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Swift, then 19, was announced as the winner of Best Female Video for her clip "You Belong To Me," beating the likes of Beyonce, who was nominated for "Single Ladies." West took the stage, grabbed her microphone and said: "Yo, Taylor. I'm really happy for you. I'ma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. One of the best videos of all time!"
Many members of the crowd booed him as he stepped down, leaving Swift flabbergasted. After the incident, which spurred online controversy.
Sept. 13, 2009 - Kanye West apologizes to Taylor Swift ... on his blog
Literally hours after the incident, West penned an all-caps message on his personal blog. It has since been deleted. The message read as follows, according to Rolling Stone:
- "I'm sooooo sorry to Taylor Swift and her fans and her mom. I spoke to her mother right after and she said the same thing my mother would've said. She is very talented! I like the lyrics about being a cheerleader and she's in the bleachers!"
"I'm in the wrong for going on stage and taking away from her moment!. Beyonce's video was the best of this decade! I'm sorry to my fans if I let you guys down! I'm sorry to my friends at MTV. I will apologize to Taylor 2mrw. Welcome to the real world! Everybody wanna booooo me but I'm a fan of real pop culture!"
Sept. 14, 2009 - Kanye West apologizes to Taylor Swift .. on TV
Kanye West talked about the incident on NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
"I immediately knew in the situation that it was wrong and it wasn't a spectacle," West said. "It's actually someone's emotions that I stepped on. It was very, it was rude, period. I'd like to be able to apologize to her in person."
"I just ashamed that my hurt caused someone else's hurt," he added. " I don't try to justify it because I was just in the wrong, that's period."
Sept. 15, 2009 - Taylor Swift talks about Kanye West on "The View"
"I think my overall thought process went something like, 'Wow, I can't believe I won, this is awesome, don't trip and fall, I'm going to get to thank the fans, this is so cool. Oh, Kanye West is here. Cool haircut. Kanye West is here. Cool haircut. What are you doing there?'" Swift said. "And then, 'Ouch,' and then, 'I guess I'm not gonna get to thank the fans.'"
Swift also said West had not reached out to her personally.
Sept. 15, 2009 - Taylor Swift says Kanye West called her to apologize
After her appearance on "The View," Swift told ABC News Radio: "Kanye did call me and he was very sincere in his apology, and I accepted that apology."
Fall 2009 - Kanye West takes time off, travels
Following the incident and backlash, West took time off from his music career and traveled abroad. He said on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show" in October 2010 that in November 2009, he moved to Rome for a while and later returned to the United States and lived in Hawaii for several months.
Sept. 4, 2010 - Kanye West apologizes to Swift again
Nearly on year after the 2009 MTV VMAs, West posted messages about his outburst on his Twitter page. The Tweets have since been deleted.
"I'm sorry, Taylor," he wrote, according to MTV News. "We're both artists, and the media and managers are trying to get between us. She deserves the apology more than anyone. Thank you [Twitter co-founders] Biz Stone and Evan Williams for creating a platform where we can communicate directly."
October 2010 - Kanye West implies there will be no more award shows for him
In his interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show," West said: "I feel like in some ways I'm a soldier of culture and I realize that no one wants that to be my job and I'll never go on stage again. I'll never sit in an award show again but will I feel convicted about things that really meant stuff to culture that constantly get denied for years and years and years and years? I'm sorry, I will. I cannot lie about it in order to sell records."
West performed and appeared at the following award shows since the interview:
Kanye West's comeback, Taylor Swift's continued success
West released his album "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" on Nov. 22, 2010. The record hit No. 1 on the U.S. chart and has sold more than 1 million copies in the United States. It also won the 2011 Grammy for Best Rap Album. West has won a total of eight Grammys since his 2009 MTV VMAs outburst.
Swift has seven Grammys - three of which she won following the incident. Both her 2010 album "Speak Now" and most recent major record, "Red," released in October 2012, have each sold more than 4 million copies in the United States.
West is currently promoting his new album, "Yeezus," which is set for release on June 18.