Saturday, July 25, 2020

Anti Semitism apparently runs deep in the black community

Wiley dropped by management over anti-Semitic posts

  • 35 minutes ago


Rapper Wiley, known as the "godfather of grime", has been dropped by his management following anti-Semitic posts on his social media accounts.

Wiley suggested Twitter had temporarily banned him from tweeting after a long series of posts on Friday and Saturday, but he remains active on Instagram.

The social media giants are facing growing pressure to close his accounts.

Police said they were looking at "relevant material" as critics accused Wiley of incitement to racial hatred.

Metropolitan Police officers in Tower Hamlets said in a statement: "We have received a number of reports relating to alleged anti-Semitic tweets posted on social media. The Met takes all reports of anti-Semitism extremely seriously. The relevant material is being assessed."

There are also calls for Wiley's MBE, appointed for services to music, to be forfeited.

Wiley, 41, shared conspiracy theories and insulted Jewish people on his Instagram and Twitter accounts, which together have more than 940,000 followers.

Tweets removed

In one tweet he said: "I don't care about Hitler, I care about black people", and also compared the Jewish community to the Ku Klux Klan.

On Instagram, videos of himself were interspersed with posts of screenshots - which have since been deleted - including one at about midday on Saturday suggesting Twitter has suspended him from tweeting for a week. 

He had already been given a 12-hour ban on Friday night, but resumed tweeting on Saturday.

The platform has removed some of his tweets, with a note saying they violated its rules. 

Wiley's manager, John Woolf, confirmed that the Twitter account, which is not verified, belongs to the London-born rapper, whose real name is Richard Cowie.

Mr Woolf wrote on Twitter on Saturday morning: "Following Wiley's antisemitic tweets today we at @A_ListMGMT have cut all ties with him. There is no place in society for antisemitism."

The announcement came a few hours after Mr Woolf tweeted that he was "talking to him privately" and wanted to "educate" him.

He also wrote: "I am also saying as someone who has known him for 12 years I know he does not truly feel this way."

'Deeply shocked and saddened'

In a subsequent statement, Mr Woolf said: "To be very clear here. I do not support or condone what Wiley has said today online in any way shape or form. 

"I am a proud Jewish man and I am deeply shocked and saddened but what he has chosen to say.

"I am speaking to key figures in my community in light of today's tweets. This behaviour and hateful speech is not acceptable to me."

Wiley later claimed in a video posted on Instagram that he had "cut ties" with Mr Woolf - not the other way around.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism said it had reported Wiley to the Metropolitan Police and asked Twitter and Facebook, which owns Instagram, to close his accounts to "prevent further outpouring of anti-Jewish venom".

"We consider that Wiley has committed the offence of incitement to racial hatred, which can carry a substantial prison sentence," a statement read.

It added that it will contact the Cabinet Office to ask for his MBE be forfeited.

Wiley, also known as Richard Cowie, poses with his medal after being appointed an MBE in 2018Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionThe rapper, known as Wiley Kat earlier in his career, was appointed MBE in 2018

There has been growing outrage over the social media companies' responses.

Lord Mann, an adviser to the government on anti-Semitism, called on Twitter and Instagram to remove him from their platforms.

He said some of the content glorifies a violent attack on a Jewish rabbi in London, adding: "That breaches all their standards, it's not even marginal."

Stephen Pollard, editor of the Jewish Chronicle, posted on Twitter that it was "shocking" that the platform has "done next to nothing".

Luciana Berger, a Liberal Democrat politician who left the Labour Party over anti-Semitism last year, said the "bile... permeates impressionable (often younger) minds".

Actors David Baddiel and Tracy-Ann Oberman, who are both Jewish, also called for more action.

Wiley first entered the UK singles charts with Wearing My Rolex in 2008. His subsequent hits include Heatwave in 2012 and Boasty in 2019, a collaboration with rappers Stefflon Don and Sean Paul and actor Idris Elba.

The BBC has contacted Twitter, Facebook and the Met Police for comment.

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