Far-right figures champion and celebrate Kanye West’s posts: ‘Like Tiananmen Square’

Many people online have widely condemned the rapper’s messages as being “hurtful” and “deeply dangerous”

Johanna Chisholm
Tuesday 11 October 2022 17:59 BST
Kanye West appears to show porn video to Adidas executives during business meeting

While most took to condemning Kanye West after he blasted off a series of anti-Semitic posts over the weekend, the message he championed quickly took hold in alt-right circles where he was lauded as a warrior of “cancel culture” gone awry.

“Like Tiananmen Square, Ye West and Candace Owens, standing there in front of the tank which is the international media,” said Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday night, referring to the incident last week where the pair of controversial figures attended a Paris Fashion Week event dressed in “White Lives Matter” t-shirts.

Since that initial controversy, the rapper was locked out of his Instagram and Twitter accounts for firing off posts that both called for going “death con 3” on all Jewish people and accusing his friend, Sean “Diddy” Combs, of being controlled by the religious minority.

Though Mr Carlson never explicitly acknowledged the rapper’s most recent controversies from over the weekend, the right-leaning broadcaster argued on Monday’s show that his recent campaign could be compared to the historic moment when a demonstration by pro-democracy students against the Chinese government in 1989 was violently shutdown.

For her part, Ms Owens, a 33-year-old conservative commentator, made her feelings about Mr West’s posts more direct, claiming on her own podcast show on Monday that the media was overreacting to his messages.

“If you are an honest person, you did not think this tweet was antisemitic. You did not think that he wrote this tweet because he hates or wants to genocide Jewish people,” she said, adding that “this does not represent the beginning of the Holocaust”.

She emphasised that her response does not represent a “defence” of Mr West’s tweet, but immediately undercut that message by saying: “It’s like you cannot even say the word Jewish without people getting upset. In the same way that you’re not allowed to say Black anymore.”

Mr West’s messages, however, have been widely condemned by anti-hate groups, including the Anti-Defamation League and the The Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance, who have described his messages as “hurtful” and of “perpetuating stereotypes”.

“Deeply troubling, dangerous, and antisemitic, period,” wrote the Anti-Defamation League in response to the rappers’ messages, which were posted – and promptly removed – from Instagram and then Twitter.

“The Black and Jewish communities must stand together through incidents like this to make clear that trafficking in hateful stereotypes is unacceptable — and that the words of one entertainer do not reflect the views of an entire community,” the Black-Jewish Entertainment Alliance also wrote.

Though his accounts remain restricted on each respective platform, there are alternative corners of the web where hate speech isn’t blocked, but instead actively encouraged by its founders and followers.

It’s in those spaces, where alt-right extremists and neo-Nazi sympathisers who have been given a more permanent boot from mainstream social media platforms gather. There, Mr West’s incendiary comments has begun to fester.

Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist and Holocaust denier, went on Cozy.TV – a new conservative streaming platform – where he streamed Mr West’s music with the title of the stream being, “DEFCON 3”. He also went on Telegram to write a more explicit message of support for the Donda artist, saying, “​​Kanye is going to be cancelled by the Jews for saying that the Jews invented cancel culture,” Media Matters reported.

Andrew Torba, the CEO of the alt-right microblogging platform Gab, took to his own platform to beckon Mr West to join him after users had begun calling for a permanent ban on his Twitter account.

“How do we get Kanye on Gab?” wrote Mr Torba, referring to his platform which is well-documented as a gathering space online for neo-Nazis, white supremacists and conspiracy theories such as QAnon.

The alt-right Infowars founder and host Alex Jones used time on his Sunday broadcast to take credit for getting West to “wake up” to conspiracies. Namely, he was referencing the one the rapper spewed earlier in the week during an interview that aired on Carlson’s Fox News show, where he falsely claimed that Matthew McHonnaey and Gap knew about the Uvalde school shooting before it happened.

On the same Sunday segment, Inforwars host Owen Shroyer made a full throated defense of Mr West’s tweets. He claimed he has “yet to see what Kanye West has said that’s bigoted.” His rant continued by blaming Jewish people for poverty amongst Black Americans, and incorrectly claimed that Mr West was only being targeted because he’d used the word “‘Jew.’”

Failed congressional candidate Laura Loomer, who is herself a vocal supporter of Donald Trump and was previously banned from Twitter for making Islamophobic remarks, defended Mr West in several posts on Gab.

“I’m sure the ADL and Kushner are already on the phone trying to shut Ye down and punish him for his criticisms,” wrote Ms Loomer, according to Media Matters. The Republican extremist lost her primary challenge to GOP congressman Dan Webster in Florida in August.

“Ye does have a point in his posts,” she wrote in another of her posts.

Mr West, who remains locked out of his accounts since this past weekend, has not made any additional public remarks about the fallout, except for releasing a bizarre 30-minute documentary on YouTube titled “LAST WEEK”.

In that vlog, Mr West appears to be in a business meeting with five men when he pulls out his phone and shows the group a video. “Is that a porn movie?”, one of the unidentified men asks. “Yeah,” replies Mr West.

In a separate clip of the documentary, Mr West’s associate goes on to accuse Adidas of stealing the rapper's ideas.

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