Warning: This article contains Tweets which use offensive and racist language.
41-year-old grime artist Wiley sparked outrage on Twitter last Friday when he posted a number anti-Semitic Tweets, which have now been deleted. What still remains is the hurt, offence, and pain that his words have caused, as well as more Tweets expressing that he stands by what he said, despite calls from Twitter users for him to remove them.
Moreover, many are outraged at Twitter for allowing this type of behaviour to happen and remain on their website. This has led to a 48-hour boycott of Twitter, joined by celebrities such as TV presenter Rachel Riley, actor Jason Isaacs, and singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor. For those two days – beginning yesterday, 27th July, and ending today – they have not used Twitter at all, to reflect the two days of inaction from Twitter last week. The hashtags #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate and #48HoursSilence are used by boycotters, along with the slogan ‘Silence Talks’.
According to numerous publications, Richard Kylea Cowie Jr, stage name Wiley, enforced conspiracy theories, calling them “snakes” and “cowards”, saying that they were at war with black people, and suggesting that they deserve to be shot. Wiley has now been banned for seven days, but will be allowed back on the site with no reprimand from Twitter.
Speaking against Wiley’s actions, and Twitter’s inaction, Labour MP Jess Phillips said, “Why on earth have @Twitter left up such blatant antisemitism and hatred? It hits all the dangerous beats, Jews get things you don’t get, they are in control, they think they’re better… This is dangerous stuff. Surely it should come down.” Neil Coyle, another Labour MP also spoke out and joined the boycott, along with many more Twitter users.
John Wolf, Wiley’s manager and head of management company A-List, has removed the artist from his roster, announcing, “Following Wiley’s anti-Semitic Tweets today we at @A_ListMGMT have cut all ties with him. There is no place in society for anti-Semitism.”
Furthermore, London Metropolitan Police are investigating the situation, saying that they have “received a number of reports relating to alleged anti-Semitic tweets posted on social media.” UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said that she had asked Twitter for a “full explanation.”
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis wrote to Jack Dorsey, chief executive of Twitter, as well as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. In his letter, he said, “This cannot be allowed to stand. Your inaction amounts to complicity.” This has been a long time coming, since Facebook, Instagram (owned by Facebook), and Twitter have been accused of allowing racist posts to be promoted on their sites.
“This cannot be allowed to stand. Your inaction amounts to complicity.” The Chief Rabbi writes to @Jack and Mark Zuckerberg to demand #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate pic.twitter.com/s0AFO4HPSx — Chief Rabbi Mirvis (@chiefrabbi) July 26, 2020