UK rapper Wiley goes on hours-long anti-Semitic Twitter rant

Music star posts canards about Jews, money and the Ku Klux Klan; watchdogs call for Twitter to take action; musician dropped by management team

Wiley poses for photographers upon arrival at the NME 2017 music awards in London, February 15, 2017. (Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
Wiley poses for photographers upon arrival at the NME 2017 music awards in London, February 15, 2017. (Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

British rapper Wiley came under fire Friday after he posted a stream of anti-Semitic tweets which included claims of connections between the Jewish community and the Ku Klux Klan, as well as repeated tropes about Jews and money.

“There are 2 sets of people who nobody has really wanted to challenge #Jewish & #KKK but being in business for 20 years you start to undestand [sic] why … Red Necks Are the KKK and Jewish people are the Law…Work that out,” the grime artist tweeted to his nearly half a million followers.

“Jewish people don’t care what black went through they just use us to make money to feed their kids… for generations as well,” he wrote in another tweet.

In apparent response to users reporting his tweets to law enforcement and Twitter, Wiley lashed out again: “Black people don’t call the police but jewish cowards do when wiley speak his mind FUCK YOU.”

He also attacked Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state. “Listen to me Jewish community Israel is not your country I’m sorry … The Star of David that’s our ting … Some people have gotten too comfortable on lands that don’t belong to them,” he tweeted.

On Saturday morning, Wiley’s management team announced they were dropping him, the Guardian reported. The musician’s manager, John Woolf, said A-List Management had “cut all ties” with the artist.

Chief executive of Antisemitism Policy Trust Danny Stone said the rapper’s statements were unacceptable.

“Here is Wiley, who earlier tweeted the Jewish community was too ‘touchy’, positing that being in business gives one insight into why people don’t ‘challenge’ Jews and the KKK. The parallel is offensive & the inference is antisemitic. Jews and money. Dress it up however you like,” Stone wrote.

Despite Twitter’s policies on hate speech, the tweets were still up on Saturday morning and Wiley’s account appeared to still be active, although he later posted a message on Instagram saying that he had been suspended from Twitter. His tweets remained up on the site and were still able to be seen.

He also posted anti-Semitic content on Instagram, which also appeared not to have been deleted.

The Hope not Hate watchdog said in a statement that Twitter needed to take responsibility.

“There is no place for hate speech in our society — whether from ordinary people, politicians or the famous. Despite media coverage & widespread condemnation Twitter failed by allowing Wiley to tweet a constant stream of unapologetic anti-Semitism inc. invocations of violence, throughout yesterday and late into the night,” the organization said in a statement. “Today Twitter must live up to its responsibilities & take action to demonstrate that racism will not be tolerated on their platform, and that such users will face immediate & irrevocable consequences.”

Labour MP John Mann with German Premier Angela Merkel at the International Coalition for Combating Antisemitism. (Courtesy)

In a tweet that also appeared to be referencing Wiley, former Labour Party MP and current Independent Adviser to the British Government on Anti-Semitism, Lord John Mann said that legislation was needed to hold Twitter to account.

“Twitter tonight has demonstrated precisely why the law needs changing to hold them to reasonable account through the online harms bill going to Parliament this September,” Mann wrote.

Wiley’s words were reminiscent of those of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Several American celebrities have defended, promoted or praised Farrakhan or echoed his anti-Semitic rhetoric over the past several weeks, including Madonna, former NBA player Stephen Jackson, NFL player DeSean Jackson, TV star Nick Cannon and rapper Ice Cube.

All but Ice Cube apologized.

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