Kanye West is Not Controversial; Kanye West Is Hateful


There are only 14.8 million Jewish people in the world. Before his social media accounts were disbanded, Kanye West had over 50 million total Twitter and Instagram followers, influencing over three times as many people as there are Jewish people in the world.

Celebrity influence is often underestimated and can be dangerous, especially when what the celebrity preaches is hateful.

This past October, Kanye West, a rapper, recently posted a vicious tweet directed toward the Jewish people. His tweet said: “…I’m going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE/ The funny thing is I can’t actually be Anti-Semitic because black people are actually Jew…” This clear expression of hatred and violence was met with shock, confusion, and sadness from many of Kanye’s followers.

“I don’t think he understands the implications of sharing this on social media,” Amanda Russo, 23’ told Paw Print. Ellie Krassan ‘23, a former listener of Kanye West’s music, agreed and said, “somebody who has so much influence over people, spreading these hateful messages can have a real impact.”

Anti-semitism has always been a prevalent issue in our communities, countries, and the whole world. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum published an encyclopedia on the history of antisemitism, dating all the way back to the Middle Ages. Many of the issues people had with Jewish people were brought upon by the government policies, or influential people in powerful positions. History shows that people can easily be swayed and influenced by anti-semitic preachings or ideas, which is why it is so dangerous that Kanye West posted Jewish hatred on the internet.

West’s tweets, whether it be intentional or not, started a wave of anti-semitic activity throughout the nation. A group of anti-semites hung a banner from a Los Angeles highway that read, “Kanye is right about the Jews,” while doing the Nazi salute. The Holocaust Museum of Los Angeles was flooded with hate messages and threats after inviting West to the museum to help change his viewpoint. Later that week, NBA player Kyrie Irving promoted an anti-semitic documentary called, ‘Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America’ which suggests that Jews are responsible for the enslavement of Africans that were brought to America (in this film, one of the most notorious anti-semites, Adolf Hitler, was quoted). That same day, a broad threat was directed toward all synagogues in New Jersey.

“Jewish people have always been targeted, only for being Jewish,” Krassan said. In the past year alone, over 500 anti-semitic incidents were reported to the Anti-Defamation League, 51 in the month of September alone. Many of these incidents include graffiti of swastikas and Nazi symbols defacing Jewish residences (and this doesn’t include the incidents not reported).

Sasha Kaufman ‘23, president of the Jewish Heritage Club in the Upper School, says she’s observed all sorts of reactions to Kanye’s tweet. Kaufman observed, “by spreading anti-semitic messages, [Kanye] is effectively just broadcasting this message to very impressionable teens and people.”

It’s easy for loyal fans of Kanye to dismiss this quote and label him as “crazy.” In the past, West has acted irrationally in many public situations, whether it be confronting Taylor Swift on stage as she accepted a VMA award in 2009, or randomly announcing his declaration for presidency in 2015 (with no political background). However, even if this tweet may be deemed “random” and another example of his past behavior, the events it’s triggered are only causing harm. Danielle Berger ‘23 stated, “I feel like he used to say lots of controversial things, but now he’s rallying groups of people. You can see it in protests all throughout the country, and can see how lots of people agree with him online. It is really scary.”

Unfortunately, it did not stop with the tweets. On October 27th, West spoke openly about his obsession with Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. On November 28th, West claimed that the Jewish people control the “banks, politics, and media”. On December 2nd, he posted a photo of the Star of David combined with a swastika. This led to his banning on Twitter.

Major companies are recognizing the hatred in Kanye’s behavior, and cutting all ties with him. Adidas cut their contract to sell clothing with him, as well as Balenciaga, Gap, and Foot Locker. West’s anti-semitic comments have also led some Pine Crest students to reject his music and his merchandise as well. Sasha Kaufman can no longer listen to his music without thinking about the hate he spread towards Jewish people. Amanda Russo, who isn’t even Jewish, told Paw Print that she used to listen to his music, but now wants no part of him. Ellie Krassan and her family got rid of any traces of Kanye West and his merchandise from her household.

Continuing to promote Kanye is, in turn, continuing to spread the messages of a hateful person. We need to act now to make changes. We all need to work to combat anti-semitism, and help defend our Jewish peers by standing up for them, and confronting all forms of anti-semitism immediately. There are many ways to help fight the hate, and we can use sources like those from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to learn how to do so.

It’s important to realize that what Kanye West posted in public for millions of people to see brought many repercussions. For those who don’t understand the gravity of this tweet, the ADL has additional resources where you can read about the antisemitic incidents that happen every single day. As supporters look at West’s actions, it’s important to recognize the power we have as consumers to take a stand.


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