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YouTube’s Lyor Cohen Responds to That Viral Kanye Photo

Over the past few days, Kanye West has set Twitter on fire with strings of tweets that have embraced President Trump, been met with positive public response from fringe personas of the far right, and sparked his wife Kim Kardashian to weigh in on matters ranging from his health status to his personal politics. This afternoon he added to the growing conversation about his political leanings by posting a photo of himself donning a MAGA hat while posing with YouTube’s Global Head of Music Lyor Cohen and Universal Music Group CEO Lucian Grainge. The photo of the three was followed by close-up photo of the hat with the caption that reads, “my MAGA hat is signed.”

Shortly after the MAGA hat tweets went up, many speculated about what the photo might mean, noting that the hand gesture Cohen appears to be making is one sometimes associated with the alt right. (In Cohen’s case, it’s also simply a gesture used in tandem with his company 300 Entertainment, where it does not have any white supremacy or alt right meaning to our knowledge.) Others simply pointed out that it was perhaps not the smartest look for the executives, or Kanye himself. Cohen has now released a statement on the matter to provide additional context.

“I went to listen to music and see Kanye,” Cohen said via his spokesperson.  “He is someone I care about. I don’t abandon people. With great music comes great pain and stress. The music is incredible!”

Update (4/26, 10a.m.): A rep from YouTube emailed Spin last night to provide an additional statement regarding the MAGA hat photo. They wrote, “The hand gesture made by Lyor Cohen is representative of the company he founded, 300 Entertainment and absolutely nothing more.”