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Kanye West's clothing brand, Hollywood production firms on pandemic loan list

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Billionaire rapper West's clothing brand Yeezy received clearance for a loan of between US$2 million and US$5 million under the Paycheck Protection programme.

[LOS ANGELES] Ventures backed by big-name entertainers Kanye West and Francis Ford Coppola were among those approved for loans under a US government programme 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 US$2 million and US$5 million under the Paycheck Protection programme (PPP), the US Small Business Administration (SBA) said.

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

The PPP was established to aid workers at companies and non-profits with fewer than 500 employees hurt by closures and other measures meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. The list released on 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.

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A spokesperson for Mr Apatow said he received US$160,000 under the programme but immediately paid it back.

The Jim Henson Company received roughly US$2 million, which enabled it to keep the entire staff of 75 workers employed, company spokesperson 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. Theatre chains approved for loans included California-based Laemmle Theatres and Regency Theatres, the government list said.

REUTERS

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