Responding to a complaint made by Campaign Against Antisemitism, SoundCloud, the popular music streaming service, has stated that it can see no problem with the antisemitic comments made by actress and fitness studio owner Kelechi Okafor during an episode of her podcast series, “Say Your Mind”.
Ms Okafor caused outrage when she defended recent comments about Jews made by BBC presenter Reggie Yates in which he claimed it was “great” that the young generation of grime music artists is not “managed by some random fat Jewish guy from north west London, they’re managed by their brethren”. In her defence of Mr Yates, Ms Okafor insisted that his comments were truthful, and asserted that that the whole affair demonstrated “the power of a specific community”. She went on to make a series of remarks that relied on classic antisemitic conspiracy theories about Jews and money, as well as Jewish power wielded for the exploitation of others.
Ms Okafor said that black entertainers had been “so short changed by the kind of people Reggie Yates describes”, adding that “all sorts of ethnicities” can be capable of this but “the fact is, these men has dominated the industry for decades” and are “taking most of the profits”. She claimed that black artists “are having to work [their] entire arse off while they’re keeping everything”. According to Ms Okafor, grime, RnB, and hip-hop music have been “diluted” by these supposed Jewish music managers who “like blackness as long as it’s making them money”. She claimed that annual commemorations of the Holocaust are more prominent than any memory of the slave trade, saying that these historical events were part of the “power dynamic” she was discussing.
Ms Okafor then turned her attention to Harvey Weinstein, a Jewish figure in the entertainment industry recently accused of sexual assault. She remarked: “if you offend one of the more powerful sectors of the community, then off be with your head” and that “people are demanding their pound of flesh, and I am very specific about the reference I just made”. Ms Okafor mentions how the phrase is linked to Shakespeare. The “pound of flesh” is a central plot device in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice in which the antagonist Shylock is portrayed as a stereotypical money-grabbing Jew. Shylock has become synonymous with the antisemitic trope that Jews control money and the banks.
Replying to CAA’s complaint, SoundCloud said it would be taking no action against Ms Okafor, stating that it saw “no clear intention to criticise, or demean any individual or group of individuals on the basis of their belonging to a protected group.”
The decision is outrageous and will only encourage antisemites to use the SoundCloud platform to spread their hatred.