Kanye West’s antisemitic rhetoric needs to stop

Jordan Reid is the founding editor of Ramshackle Glam.
Liberal Opinion

Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam
Archive |

Adidas announced it is terminating its partnership with the rapper formerly known as Kanye West after his antisemitic remarks calling for violence against Jewish people. According to its statement, Adidas will immediately “end production of Yeezy-branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies.” This follows news that Ye plans to buy the conservative social media platform Parler, announced just days after he was kicked off Twitter and Instagram for his inflammatory rhetoric. While Ye and his followers claim they’re just practicing their right to speak freely, Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid argues that hate speech doesn’t qualify as free speech.

I don’t care very much about Kanye West. I know he’s a brilliant musician, and I obviously know a bit about his personal life c/o the gossip columns and various Kardashian-related efforts, but none of his decisions have been especially impactful on me personally, apart from their entertainment value. 

After all, just because someone is a celebrity doesn’t mean that they have a responsibility to shape their opinions to support the public welfare. You do you, dude. 

Except, when said celebrity has a massive platform, legions of massively devoted fans and massively damaging opinions that threaten public safety in a very tangible, real way…don’t they? And when that person is very visibly in the throes of a major mental health crisis that seems to have ripped away any shreds of self-reflection or common sense…It’s not great. 

I’m not going to repeat Kanye West’s most recent public statements, because amplification is not what this man needs – but suffice it to say that in their wake, Andrew Anglin, publisher of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, hailed Ye as one of the greatest people to have lived since Jesus Christ, “or at least since Adolf Hitler.”

The deeply antisemitic statements also inspired celebrations and calls to action among various white supremacist and extremist groups online. And the Goyim Defense League – the organization that claimed responsibility for the antisemitic banners hung over a Los Angeles highway – is using Kanye’s comments to pit the Black community against Jewish people, whom they call “a universal enemy.”

Kanye West has more social media followers than there are Jews in the world. Amplification builds awareness builds momentum – a cause-and-effect sequence that doesn’t make exceptions for hate speech. Is the answer de-platforming individuals who use their reach to engender hatred and potentially inspire violence? I hate this question, because it’s an uncomfortable one…but in the case of Kanye West, the answer is, I think…yes.

I don’t care very much about Kanye West. I know he’s a brilliant musician, and I obviously know a bit about his personal life c/o the gossip columns and various Kardashian-related efforts, but none of his decisions have been especially impactful on me personally, apart from their entertainment value. 

After all, just because someone is a celebrity doesn’t mean that they have a responsibility to shape their opinions to support the public welfare. You do you, dude. 

Except. When said celebrity has a massive platform, legions of massively devoted fans, and massively damaging opinions that threaten public safety in a very tangible, real way…don’t they? And when that person is very visibly in the throes of a major mental health crisis that seems to have ripped away any shreds of self-reflection or common sense…It’s not great. 

I’m not going to repeat Kanye West’s most recent public statements, because amplification is not what this man needs – but suffice it to say that in their wake Andrew Anglin, publisher of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer website, hailed Ye as one of the greatest people to have lived since Jesus Christ, “or at least since Adolf Hitler.”

The deeply anti-semitic statements also inspired celebrations and calls to action among various white supremacist and extremist groups online. And the Goyim Defense League – the organization that claimed responsibility for the anti-semitic banners hung over a Los Angeles highway – is using Kanye’s comments to pit the Black community against Jewish people, whom they call “a universal enemy.”

Kanye West has more social media followers than there are Jews in the world. Amplification builds awareness builds momentum – a cause-and-effect sequence that doesn’t make exceptions for hate speech. Is the answer de-platforming individuals who use their reach to engender hatred and potentially inspire violence? I hate this question, because it’s an uncomfortable one…but in the case of Kanye West, the answer is, I think…yes.

As Atoosa Rubenstein very elegantly put it, “We owe it to Kanye West and his family to impose silence upon him now if no one in his life has the power to do it. We owe it to Jewish people not to print hate speech just because it’s click bait. We owe it to the Iranian people to cheer for this long overdue uprising and quest for basic human rights.”

You know, I grew up in New York City, and went to a school where Judaism wasn’t only accepted, it was practically expected. I’m half-Jewish but identify as being culturally Jewish, and antisemitism, frankly, isn’t something I ever experienced, mostly because of that aforementioned place of privilege that apparently shielded me. 

The first – and second – times I experienced anti-Semitism were right after Donald Trump’s election. And I mean so “right after” that the link was pretty obvious. I was walking in my neighborhood, and saw a swastika that had clearly just been spray-painted onto a wall. Not long after, I received a rash of anti-Semitic comments on my website, Ramshackle Glam. This is a drop in the bucket when it comes to such attacks, but still: It never happened before. And then it did. And it was shocking.

And now, only six years later, this kind of stuff doesn’t shock me at all. 

And that is the problem. 


Get unbiased straight facts, context, and perspective!