Kanye West (aka Ye) is a rapper and musician and one of the bestselling recording artists of all time.
In October 2022, West came under fire after he posted a series of antisemitic comments to social media.
West Posted Antisemitic Comments Online
In an October 9 2022 tweet, West wrote, “‘I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.” He added, “The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti Semitic because black people are actually Jew also. You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.”
He later deleted the tweet.
West defended the tweets in an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News and compared them to a “colonic.”
“When I have techniques that are revolutionary, if I raise my voice on Instagram, it’s a colonic and people can say ‘Oh this what you’re doing is toxic,'” West told the conservative host. “I gotta do everything to get it out of my body and there will be times that I see a level of oppression and I’ll be like ‘I’m not going to let you guys kill me.'”
West Social Media Accounts Restricted
After his antisemitic remarks, West’s official accounts on two of the largest social media networks were restricted.
West’s Twitter account was locked for violating the Twitter rules. His Instagram account was also locked down after the statements.
West Defended Remarks
West defended his comments, telling reporters, “I want to talk about the Jewish comment. It’s actually proving the exact point that I made. So many actors been bullied behind the scenes.”
Criticism Of West Remarks
The Anti-Defamation League said West’s remarks were “deeply troubling, dangerous and antisemitic.”
Radio host Howard Stern criticized West on his satellite radio show. “This is so depressing. I mean, Kanye used to be fun crazy. Now he’s like Hitler,” said Stern.
Comedian Jon Stewart, responding to those who cited West’s mental illness in defense of his outburst, said, “I don’t know what drug you could get that could make you not believe there’s a cabal of Jews controlling the flow of information from your mouth to the public.”
Antisemitic Support For West
A group of people from a hate group called the Goyim Defense League expressed support for West. The group hung banners from the 405 freeway in Los Angeles on October 22 2022 that read, “Kanye is right about the Jews.”
Kim Kardashian Reaction
Kim Kardashian, West’s ex-wife, condemned his rhetoric.
On Twitter she wrote, “Hate speech is never OF or excusable. I stand together with the Jewish community and call on the terrible violence and hateful rhetoric toward them to come to an immediate end.”
Call For West Boycott
Jeremy Zimmer, the co-founder and CEO of the talent agency UTA, called for a boycott of West in response to his comments.
In a memo circulated across his company, Zimmer wrote, “Please support the boycott of Kanye West. Powerful voices spewing hatred have frequently driven people to do hateful things.”
Ari Emanuel, the CEO of talent agency William Morris Endeavor, wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times calling on companies to stop working with West.
West Lost Business Deals Over Rhetoric
French fashion house Balenciaga announced that it was ending its relationship with West.
“Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist,” Balenciaga’s parent company Kering said in a statement to the media.
Vogue said it was severing its relations with West, despite years of contacts between West and the magazine’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.
CAA, one of the biggest entertainment talent agencies, dropped West as a client.
Film producer MRC announced on October 24 2022 that they decided not to go ahead with plans to distribute a documentary about West, noting, “We cannot support any content that amplifies his platform.”
Variety reported that streams of West’s music significantly declined as the controversy over his remarks increased, as did radio airplay of his music.
Adidas Pressured Over West
Adidas faced public pressure to drop West as a partner after his comments. The company produced a line of sneakers called Yeezy in association with West.
A old clip of West bragging that he could make antisemitic remarks and not be dropped from Adidas began to circulate, racking up over 4.5 million views on Twitter.
Adidas Dropped West
After weeks of silence, Adidas finally announced on October 25 2022 that they would be severing their business ties to West.
“Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness,” the company said in a statement.
Adidas said they would cease production of their Yeezy line of products and stop payments from Adidas to West. The company said they expected the loss of the affiliation with Kanye West would cost them $250 million in 2022.
West Lost $2 Billion In Net Worth
Following the loss of his partnership with Adidas, West faced a significant hit to his overall net worth.
Forbes reported on October 25 2022 that West was no longer a billionaire and that his antisemitism had “obliterated” his net worth.
The outlet explained that $1.5 billion of West’s net worth came from his association with Adidas. Forbes estimated that West was worth $400 million, sourced to real estate, his music catalog, cash, and the 5% he owned in Kim Kardashian’s firm Skims.
Forbes said West would no longer be included on their list of global billionaires.
Donda Academy Shut Down
Donda Academy was West’s Christian private school located in Simi Valley, California. It was named after his deceased mother Donda West.
In the fallout from the antisemitism scandal, Donda Academy announced on October 26 2022 that it would be shutting down.
Jason Angell, principal of the school, emailed parents saying, “At the discretion of our Founder, Donda Academy will close for the remainder of the 2022-2023 school year effective immediately.”
One of the first political bloggers in the world, Oliver Willis has operated OliverWillis.com since 2000. Contributor at Media Matters for America and The American Independent. Follow on Twitter at @owillis.