From musical genius to antisemite

Multi-Grammy winner Ye has spread antisemitism through recent statements, sparking more acts from followers.


Photo by David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons licensed under CC by 2.0

Ye West, formerly known as Kanye, has recently promoted antisemitic sentiment on various social media platforms.

Amare Srinivasan and Clyde Curtis, Staff Reporters

Antisemitism is on the rise again in the United States after famous rapper, “Ye,” formerly known as Kanye West, went on a rampage during a series of podcasts and tweets displaying his antisemitic views. 

As opposed to when Social Media wasn’t as prevalent and couldn’t impact public opinion, it is now being used as a tool for spreading misinformation and hateful speech throughout communities and followings. Throughout the period of Ye having an extremely successful career as a musician, he has built up a massive following that seems to stand by him no matter what he does, even taking action to back him up. 

With over 30 million followers on Twitter, Ye tweeted a picture of a Swastika inside the Star of David, as well as writing statements such as, “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.” 

Ye also wrote, “I prefer my kids knew Hanukkah from Kwanzaa. At least it will come with some financial engineering,” and went on a podcast to make the statement that shocked the world, “I think everyone serves a purpose in the world. Especially Hitler.” 

While these statements are disturbing to hear from anyone, the long-lasting effects are substantially worse when the oppressor has a significant following like Ye does. 

In  a sequence of events many people weren’t expecting, star Basketball player Kyrie Irving posted an antisemitic documentary supporting the conspiracy theory that the holocaust was a hoax and supporting the infamous conspiracy theorist, Alex Jones. In an interview with a few NBA reporters, Irving was asked about why he posted the video. He stated that,“history is not supposed to be hidden from anybody, I’m not going to stand down on anything I believe in, I have a whole army around me.” 

When offered the chance to apologize, Kyrie initially believed that he had nothing to apologize for, however later did say, “I just want to apologize deeply for all my actions throughout the time that it’s been since the post was first put up. My focus, if I could do it over, would be to heal my close relationships with my Jewish relatives, brothers and sisters.” 

Following some of these statements, many antisemites and Kyrie/Ye superfans have started to feel more comfortable with spreading misinformation and making antisemitic statements on social media as well as in real life.

In October, an antisemitic group hung a banner over a busy Los Angeles freeway reading, “Kanye is right about the jews.” In Illinois, a number of graves were vandalized with swastikas and offensive graffiti as well as many other posters at recent sporting events and in public said that Kanye’s statements were correct and needed to be said. 

In order to gauge how students in the Ballard community felt about Ye’s recent transgressions, a few Jewish and non-Jewish students were asked about their perspectives on the topic. 

Sophomore Zane Anderson, an ethnically Jewish supporter of Ye’s music, talked about how the news made him feel. 

“I felt pretty offended, I didn’t think that he would actually say this kind of stuff,” Anderson said. 

Many supporters of Ye in the past have tried to defend Ye and use his mental health struggles to justify his actions, which Anderson had an opinion on. 

“I don’t think Kanye’s mental health struggles excuse his behavior, but they might explain why he’s openly saying it to an extent,” Anderson said. 

While Anderson was making these comments, a few students came over and started to defend Ye. After the disruption, Anderson wanted to talk about it. 

“I don’t think you should really be defending him if you’re not Jewish and don’t understand the effects of it,” Anderson said. “I don’t think you should have a strong opinion about it since you don’t have to deal with the problems.”

Ben Schulte, a non-Jewish sophomore was asked what he would say to the people still defending Ye. 

“I think most of the fans that defend his comments are either people that don’t understand the true issue in what he’s saying…Ye’s influence on people is very big and there are lots and lots of people that will blindly listen to what he’s saying just because he is Kanye,” Schulte said. 

In addition to these recent statements, there have been many occasions in the past where Ye has done things that made many people scratch their heads dating back to the 2009 VMA awards. Ye ran up onto the stage in the middle of Taylor Swift’s award speech and interrupted her to praise Beyonce’s album. 

“Since [the VMAs,] he’s had multiple incidents such as wearing the MAGA hat, hanging around Trump, and I mean I don’t think his mental health struggles are something you can use as a total excuse for what he is doing, but it is very clear that he needs help,” Schulte said.