Kanye West’s clothing brand, Hollywood production companies on pandemic loan list

FILE PHOTO: Rapper Kanye West speaks during meeting with U.S. President Trump at the White House in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Rapper Kanye West speaks during a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump to discuss criminal justice reform in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

July 7, 2020

By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Ventures backed by big-name entertainers Kanye West and Francis Ford Coppola were among those approved for loans under a U.S. government program to help businesses survive the coronavirus pandemic, according to a list released on Monday.

Billionaire rapper West’s clothing brand Yeezy received clearance for a loan of between $2 million and $5 million under the Paycheck Protection Program, the U.S. Small Business Administration said.

The company said the loan would save 160 jobs, according to the SBA.

The PPP was established to aid workers at companies and nonprofits with fewer than 500 employees hurt by closures and other measures meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The list released Monday gave the most-detailed accounting to date of who applied for and was approved to receive funds.

Several Hollywood production companies applied for PPP aid after filming was halted in mid-March, putting tens of thousands of cast and crew members out of work. Approved applicants included The Jim Henson Company, creator of the Muppets, and The Apatow Company, run by writer/director Apatow.

A spokeswoman for Apatow said he received $160,000 under the program but immediately paid it back.

The Jim Henson Company received roughly $2 million, which enabled it to keep the entire staff of 75 workers employed, company spokeswoman Nicole Goldman said.

Other loan applicants from the world of entertainment included filmmaker Coppola’s Francis Ford Coppola Presents, a lifestyle brand that markets films, wine and other products,

and e-sports company FaZe Clan, according to the SBA.

Cinema operators, which were forced to close in March, also applied for relief. Theater chains approved for loans included California-based Laemmle Theatres and Regency Theatres, the government list said.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Tom Brown)