Editor’s note: A previous version of this article mistakenly featured a photo of the artist Kano. Variety regrets the error.
UPDATE: Twitter announced on July 29 that is has permanently suspended Wiley’s account and apologized for its slowness in taking action against the British rappers antisemitic comments over the weekend, according to The Guardian. His Facebook and Instagram accounts, where he later made further antisemitic comments, were permanently removed on Tuesday. “Let us be clear: hateful conduct has absolutely no place on our service and we strongly condemn antisemitism,” a spokesperson said. “We are sorry we did not move faster and are continuing to assess the situation internally. We deeply respect the concerns shared by the Jewish community and online safety advocates, and we will continue to work closely with government, NGOs, civil society partners and our industry peers to tackle antisemitism on Twitter.”
U.K Rapper Wiley has been dropped by his manager, John Woolf, and distributor, ADA, after posting a series of anti-Semitic tweets.
Wiley, whose real name is Richard Kylea Cowie Jr., is known in Great Britain as the “Godfather of Grime,” a gritty electronic music that originated in London in the early 2000s.
Among the comments Wiley made on July 24, he compared Jews to the Ku Klux Klan and claimed that “in prison jewish people get looked after differently too everyone else and hospitals and police stations.”
The Metropolitan Police responded to Wiley’s rant via social media writing, “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.”
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.
— Tower Hamlets Police (gov.uk/coronavirus) (@MPSTowerHam) July 25, 2020
Woolf took to Twitter to confirm he had cut ties with Wiley saying, “Following Wileys anti-Semitic tweets today, we at @A_ListMGMT have cut all ties with him. There is no place in society for anti-Semitism.”
A representative for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the leader feels “Twitter must do better,” according to the BBC.
In response to Twitter’s slowness to delete Wiley’s offensive tweets, dozens of users have responded with two-day “walkout.” The Holocaust Education Trust shared a statement via their Twitter page, calling out both Twitter and Instagram for failing to act adequately. It called on the social media companies to “live up to the values that their users would expect.”
The Royal Opera House posted, “We are joining the #48HoursSilence boycott of @Twitter to protest their inaction on antisemitism. We stand in solidarity with Jewish friends and colleagues against intimidation and discrimination.”
Jess Phillips, a Member of Parliament for Birmingham wrote, “From 9am tomorrow I am joining the boycott of @Twitter for 48 hours to protest their inaction on antisemitism. This platform has been a safe haven for hate speech for too long. @jack must act #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate.”
British Home Secretary Priti Patel on Sunday criticized the social media platform for leaving the posts up saying, “The antisemitic posts from Wiley are abhorrent. They should not have been able to remain on Twitter and Instagram for so long and I have asked them for a full explanation.Social media companies must act much faster to remove such appalling hatred from their platforms.”
The protest formally began on Monday at 09:00BST.
Ben Winston, executive producer of the 2020 Grammy Awards, weighed in as well, also expressing concern that Twitter “did little to stop” such racist comments on its platform.
Wiley hits include “Wearing My Rolex,” “Never Be Your Woman” and “Heatwave,” which topped the U.K charts. His albums are released and distributed by ADA, which also cut ties with the artist. As reported by Music Business Worldwide, an ADA spokesperson said: “We oppose antisemitism and any form of discrimination and racism. While Wiley controls and releases his music through his own label, he has a digital distribution agreement with ADA and we are terminating that agreement.”
In 2018, he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his contributions to music.