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Kanye West's Pan Am Games Performance Not Paid For By Taxpayers: Organizers

07/27/2015 05:38 EDT | Updated 07/27/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO — Organizers say taxpayers aren't footing the bill for Kanye West's headlining performance at the Pan Am Games closing ceremony on Sunday.

They also aren't sure whether the rapper's mic problems and abrupt exit from the stage were genuine or planned.

Pan Am Games CEO Saad Rafi says performance fees for West and the two other performers — Canadian howler Serena Ryder and Miami pop-rapper Pitbull — were covered by the concert promotion company Live Nation, which sponsored the Games.

He says the Games organizing committee only contributed to expenses such as backing bands, makeup artists and transporting artists' equipment from the airport.

There was a fleeting outcry when West was announced as the headliner for the ceremony, with several thousand people signing a petition urging organizers to replace him with a Canadian act.

Some questioned whether tax dollars should be spent on an American and often controversial artist.

The crowd roared its support for West at Sunday's event, but many expressed their confusion when he tossed an apparently faulty microphone up in the air and stomped off stage.

Rafi says West is known to do the unexpected and "we may never know" whether his departure was staged.

"The volume that he performs at is so high, it might have been what affected the sound system, but it also might be something his team planned all along, so you just never know because he's such a creative guy," Rafi told The Canadian Press.

"His team controls his whole part of that show — lights, etc.," he said, adding that he hadn't heard any complaints from West's camp since the show.

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