He calls himself the “King of the Youth.” When he’s not palling around with the likes of A$AP Mob, Drake, and Virgil Abloh, the vertically challenged stylist serves as fashion consigliere to none other than Kanye West. And in December, he boasted of making $516,000 in just three hours. Though the name Ian Connor may not be familiar to you, it is to those fluent in hip-hop fashion. To numerous women, however, he’s known as something else entirely: rapist.
The allegations began surfacing in early 2016, when Malika Anderson, then a senior at Emory University, penned a blog post titled, “Ian Connor Is a Rapist and I Know Firsthand.” In it, Anderson alleged that Connor sexually assaulted her on Oct. 5, 2014, penetrating her without her consent. In another blog post titled “For Malika,” the artist Jenn Deaux claimed that Connor raped her as well. At least a dozen women came forward to accuse Connor of sexual assault, and, after The Daily Beast ran a story detailing how the rapper Theophilus London had branded Connor a “rapist” on Twitter, several other women reached out to this reporter with their own Ian Connor horror stories. (Connor has denied the allegations.)
In addition to London, one of the precious few famous voices to have these women’s backs has been Amber Rose. The style icon/entrepreneur—and architect of the popular Amber Rose SlutWalk—told The Daily Beast that “21 women” had reached out to her to accuse Connor of sexual assault. But that was in late 2016, well before the #MeToo movement began holding powerful men accountable for their actions, and so despite the deluge of allegations, the 25-year-old Connor continues to thrive in the fashion world.
Rose can’t believe it. “It’s disheartening, because these girls are regular girls who have no voice. I’ve tried to give them a platform, and everything sort of fell through,” she says. “People look at celebrities—or influencers—as though they can get any girl they want, so why would they rape girls or sexually assault girls? But they do, and it’s horrible. I believe these girls because they’re from all over the world, they don’t know each other, and they all have the same exact story.”
She adds, “I don’t know why [Connor’s] still walking around. I’m disgusted with him, because I truly believe that he did everything that they said he did. It’s really, really sad.”
Indeed, one of the problems with the Connor case is that many of the women he allegedly targeted are young, poor and black, so they were too afraid to report him. They felt it was their word against that of a wealthy, well-connected celebrity hanger-on.
“They never got a rape kit because they were scared, and on the other side, it’s almost as if he’s not famous enough for people to write a story about him and really blow it up because nobody cares about him enough to give a fuck that he’s actually raping women,” says Rose.
With the exception of Theophilus London, few men of influence in the hip-hop community have been willing to call out—let alone cut ties with—Connor.
“Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening,” says Rose. “There’s this ‘snitching’ culture where you can’t snitch on a guy, and nobody will ever really respect you if you snitch.
“I feel like probably a lot of his male friends know what he does—maybe they do the same—but they’ll never tell on him because then they’ll be known as a snitch, and nobody will respect them,” she continues. “It’s that culture where you can’t say anything and almost have to sweep it under the rug, and I think a lot of [men] feel like, ‘Well, who cares? These girls put themselves in these situations, so they deserve it.’ That’s obviously everything I speak about at my SlutWalk. It doesn’t matter if you go to his house at midnight or five o’clock in the morning, you always have the right to say no.”
Meanwhile, in addition to Connor, Rose says that women have confided in her about other alleged sexual abusers within the hip-hop community.
“They have, but it’s not my place to discuss it,” offer Rose. “They’re hopefully going to come out and tell their own stories, so it’s not for me to say.”
Our full interview with Amber Rose will run early next week.