Campaign Against Antisemitism is calling on the New World Fest music festival to drop the unrepentant antisemite Wiley from its line-up. The grime artist is due to appear at the festival this weekend, despite launching into an antisemitic tirade last summer.
On 24th July 2020, the rapper Richard Kylea Cowie, who is known as Wiley, spent days engaged in an escalating rant on social media against Jews. After likening Jews to the Ku Klux Klan and claiming that Jews had cheated him and were “snakes”, Wiley tweeted that Jews should “hold some corn”, a slang expression meaning that they should be shot. He added: “Jewish community you deserve it”. He then also called on “black people” to go to “war” with Jews.
Wiley repeatedly evoked conspiracy theories that Jews were responsible for the slave trade and that modern-day Jews are in fact imposters who usurped black people — a conspiracy theory that has incited acts of terrorism against Jews, such as a shooting in Jersey City and a stabbing attack in Monsey, NY during the festival of Chanukah last December.
In the days that followed, Wiley continued to rail against Jews on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Following discussions with Campaign Against Antisemitism, a major 48-hour boycott of Twitter and Instagram in which we participated, and our projection of antisemitic tweets onto Twitter’s London headquarters, which then went viral, Twitter, Facebook (which owns Instagram), Google (which owns YouTube) and TikTok agreed to remove Wiley from their platforms, depriving him of access to his nearly one million social media followers.
Campaign Against Antisemitism immediately reported Wiley to the Metropolitan Police Service, but in September the police force confirmed to us that Wiley was not in the UK at the time of his antisemitic tirade. Under Home Office rules, that means that the Metropolitan Police must give primacy to police in the jurisdiction where Wiley was at the time.
Lawyers acting for Campaign Against Antisemitism have filed a criminal complaint with the Public Prosecution Service in the Netherlands, which is where grime artist Wiley was located when he launched his tirade against Jews.
Ron Eisenmann, a partner at Eisenmann & Ravestijn, filed documents on behalf of Campaign Against Antisemitism seeking Wiley’s prosecution in the Netherlands over his antisemitic incitement. We are extremely grateful to Mr Eisenmann and his firm for agreeing to represent Campaign Against Antisemitism on a pro bono basis.
We are grateful to the Community Security Trust, which was able to provide us with evidence showing that Wiley was in Rotterdam at the time of his antisemitic abuse.
Campaign Against Antisemitism is continuing its response to this incident, including:
- Filing our criminal complaint against Wiley in the Netherlands;
- Continuing to meet with executives from Twitter, Facebook and Google to address their response to antisemitism on their platforms;
- Working with the Cabinet Office’s Honours Forfeiture Committee to ensure that Wiley’s MBE is revoked;
- Seeking a change in policy so that racists are automatically stripped of their honours in future;
- Urging the Government to bring forward legislation to regulate social networks and force them to remove racist incitement which has recently borne fruit; and
- Working with the music industry to remove Wiley’s awards and ensure that he is shunned for his racism.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “It is extraordinary that a festival would think it appropriate to try to rehabilitate an unrepentant antisemite on its stage. One wonders whether a musician who had targeted another minority would have been feted in this way. The festival must drop Wiley and explain how this racist came to be invited in the first place, especially as prosecutors consider our case against him.”