Once again, the antisemite Wiley has been able to create an account on Twitter and spout racist hate towards Jews, even directly attacking Campaign Against Antisemitism. Twitter has suspended his account after we called on the platform to do so.

The rapper Richard Kylea Cowie, who is known as Wiley, went on an antisemitic tirade on social media in July 2020, has gone on another tirade this week, culminating today. Using the handle @WileyRecordings, he has tweeted an image of himself in Hasidic garb and a video titled “the Jewish Faces that Control Hiphop and Mainstream Black Music.” He posted a further video “discuss[ing] historical tensions between blacks & Jews” and, in another tweet, asserted: “The more they block me the harder I go and when I get through the door I will stand there and look in their faces with the same look they don’t wanna see….They are just angry they can’t control me…” He also tweeted a video of the antisemitic hate preacher Louis Farrakhan titled “I’m here to separate the ‘good Jews’ from the ‘Satanic Jews’”, and a video of another antisemitic hate preacher, David Icke.

Wiley then went on to target a senior figure in Campaign Against Antisemitism directly, changing his profile picture to an image of this member of our team and tweeting a further picture of him. He then proceeded to taunt him in a series of tweets, including calling him a “coward” and then posting a video on Instagram taunting him.

The rapper, who recently released an album unsubtly titled “Anti-Systemic”, told our member on Instagram this morning: “Don’t hide” and “come outside”. Wiley has recently been charged with assault and robbery. We are in touch with the police over the taunts and are examining legal options.

At this minute, Wiley is currently live on Instagram spewing antisemitic rhetoric, talking about banks that are owned by “Jewish families” and speculating that maybe Jews do in fact control the world. We are in contact with Instagram, calling on the platform to ban him immediately.

In his tirade in 2020, Wiley likened Jews to the Ku Klux Klan and claimed that Jews had cheated him and were “snakes”, tweeted that Jews should “hold some corn” – a slang expression meaning that they should be shot – and added: “Jewish community you deserve it”. He also called on “black people” to go to “war” with Jews and repeatedly evoked conspiracy theories that Jews were responsible for the slave trade and were imposters who usurped black people — a conspiracy theory that has incited acts of terrorism against Jews in the United States.

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, TwitterFacebook (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.

At the time of Wiley’s original antisemitic tirade, Campaign Against Antisemitism immediately reported Wiley to the Metropolitan Police Service, but the police eventually confirmed to us that Wiley was not in the UK at the time of his 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 he was located when he launched his tirade against Jews.

We also called for Wiley to be stripped of his MBE and have his Ivors Award rescinded.

However, barely a year later Wiley was again active on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, notwithstanding their pledges to ban him. Wiley tweeted at the time: “In all my years on earth I realised everyone wants you to care about their stuff like Holocaust etc but not one of them give a f*** about the enslavement and f***ery of black people so it’s hard for me to care for them knowing they don’t care for us #YaGetIt #JusSayin.”

This week, he has gone on another tirade, and only now has Twitter finally removed him, after we called once again on the platform to do so. We are also calling on Instagram, to which he has shifted his attention, to do the same. If these platforms had kept to their word, he would not have been on them in the first place.

Campaign Against Antisemitism has called on several venues over the past year to drop the unrepentant Wiley from their line-ups.

Earlier this year, we published a major report that shows how Twitter fails to implement consistently its own policies on hate. The report showed how Twitter appointed Campaign Against Antisemitism as a partner to monitor anti-Jewish racism on its platform and promised regular meetings, only to cease those meetings and ignore offers of antisemitism training after we began alerting the company to the inconsistent application of its policies by personnel.

Not only were phrases like “f*** the Jews” not considered to breach Twitter’s rules, but other phrases such as “Hitler was right” were sometimes permitted and sometimes removed, without any form of coherent reasoning. Moreover, one of the few areas where Twitter has in the past said that it would take action is over Holocaust denial, pledging to remove “attempts to deny or diminish” violent events such as the Shoah. Our report, however, shows that Twitter personnel repeatedly raised no objection to phrases such as “#Holohoax” and other, more elaborate tweets of Holocaust denial.

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “The antisemite Wiley has been able to return to Twitter and Instagram to spout racist hate, even adopting the image of one of our personnel as his profile picture and taunting him. We are in contact with the police and are examining legal options.

“Twitter has suspended Wiley’s account after we called on the platform to do so, but the company has failed to prevent him joining the platform repeatedly over the past year, despite its pledge to ban him. The company continues to ignore a wide range of antisemitic accounts that we have brought to its attention, presumably because they fail to attract the same degree of public interest and negative publicity as this case.

“We are now in contact with Instagram, asking for his live stream to be ended and his account removed, and we are in touch with the police about some of his deranged output.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism has long called for tougher regulations on social media sites and that social networks proactively search for and remove hate speech from their platforms. We also continue to make representations to the Government on this matter.

Spotify has reportedly removed nearly 150 hours of antisemitic, racist and white supremacist material from its platform following a media investigation.

The streaming giant does not allow hateful content on its platform, but a Sky News investigation reportedly found “days’ worth” of listening, promoting “scientific racism, Holocaust denial and far-right antisemitic conspiracy theories”.

Much of it was buried within hours-long episodes, but in some cases there were explicit slurs in titles, descriptions and artwork.

Spotify removed the content after being alerted, but it remains online on other, unmoderated platforms, such as Google Podcasts.

Searching for the phrase “Kalergi Plan”, for example, directs users to a podcast with 76 episodes discussing the far-right antisemitic conspiracy theory which imagines that Jewish elites promote mass immigration as part of a deliberate plan to erase the white European race. One of the episodes apparently contains a monologue that ends with an explicit call for violence against Jews.

Another US-based podcast featured racist slurs and white supremacist symbols in its title, descriptions and artwork, with the host promoting various antisemitic theories, Holocaust denial and scientific racism.

Yet another series talks of the “beauty” of white supremacism and features readings of essays and books by Hitler, Goebbels and other Nazi figures.

Spotify allows users to report material that violates the platform’s guidelines, and the company is developing new technology to identify hateful material. But questions remain over what is being done currently to monitor podcast material, the large volume of which requires a mix of algorithmic and human moderation, as well as technology that can detect hate speech in audio.

Hannah Kirk, AI researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute and The Alan Turing Institute, observed numerous technological challenges, including the amount of memory needed to store long audio files, the difficulty of sifting through multiple speakers and fast-paced dialogue, and the complexity of linguistic cues in audio, such as tone, pitch of voice, awkward silences and laughter. The technology to encode these sorts of linguistic signals is not currently available.

Google podcasts, which is more of a directory than a platform, reportedly does not wish to limit what people can find and will only remove content in rare circumstances, according to what a spokesperson has previously told The New York Times.

A Spotify spokesperson told Sky News: “Spotify prohibits content on our platform which expressly and principally advocates or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual based on characteristics, including, race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status, or disability. The content in question has been removed for violating our Hate Content policy.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism has launched a new weekly podcast. New episodes of Podcast Against Antisemitism are available every Thursday and can be streamed here or downloaded wherever you get your podcasts.

VK, a Russian social media platform with an active user base of at least 60 million, is reportedly rife with antisemitism, online watchdog Fighting Online Antisemitism has said. 

Some examples of the alleged content include offensive caricatures that evoke classic antisemitic tropes of Jews with exaggerated facial features, as well as portraying Jews in positions of power over the media.

Comparisons between Jews and rodents and leeches were also made, and it was even reported that content promoting Holocaust denial and admiration for the Nazis were present. 

Allegations that Jewish people have masterminded the COVID-19 pandemic to further their own gains were also not uncommon. Anti-lockdown and anti-vaccination networks have become known as hotbeds of antisemitic conspiracy theories and tropes.

It was also reported recently that VK was fined 3 million roubles for not deleting banned content, though it is not known whether this content relates to the antisemitic posts reported. 

Campaign Against Antisemitism has expanded our coverage of antisemitism worldwide. Please contact us if you would like to share feedback or volunteer to assist with this project.

Image credit: Fighting Online Antisemitism