Twitter 'walkout' planned after rapper's anti-Semitic tirade

Celebrities, politicians and other high profile Brits have pledged to join a 48-hour "walkout" from Twitter, to protest against what they say is an inadequate response to anti-Semitic tweets from a rapper.

Wiley — who is considered a key figure in London's grime music scene — is facing a police investigation after a string of anti-Semitic comments appeared on his social media accounts last week.

The 41-year-old rapper, whose real name is Richard Cowie, has nearly half a million followers on his Twitter account, which is currently suspended.

Some of his statements have been deleted by the social media giant for violating its "hateful conduct policy." But others remain, drawing criticism from other users of the platform.

12 PHOTOS
Wiley
See Gallery
Wiley
BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 31: Wiley performs on stage on Day 1 of Fusion Festival 2013 at Cofton Park on August 31, 2013 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Wiley performs at KOKO 2020 closing finale, special live performance by god father of grime artist Wiley at KOKO on March 05, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for KOKO)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Wiley performs at KOKO 2020 closing finale, special live performance by god father of grime artist Wiley at KOKO on March 05, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for KOKO)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 02: Wiley performs at O2 Academy Brixton hours after recieving his MBE from the Duke of Cambridge at the 2018 New Year Investitures ceremony on March 2, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 02: Wiley performs at O2 Academy Brixton hours after recieving his MBE from the Duke of Cambridge at the 2018 New Year Investitures ceremony on March 2, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns)
NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - SEPTEMBER 10: Skepta (EDITORS NOTE: This image was edited using digital filters) performs on the mainstage with Wiley, Frisco, DJ Maximum and Shorty during the 2nd day of Bestival 2016 at Robin Hill Country Park on September 10, 2016 in Newport, Isle of Wight. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns)
NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT - SEPTEMBER 10: Wiley and DJ Maximum perform on the mainstage with Skepta during the 2nd day of Bestival 2016 at Robin Hill Country Park on September 10, 2016 in Newport, Isle of Wight. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns)
BIRMINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 31: Wiley performs on stage on Day 1 of Fusion Festival 2013 at Cofton Park on August 31, 2013 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns via Getty Images)
STRATFORD-UPON-AVON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 26: Wiley performs on stage on Day 1 of Global Gathering 2013 on July 26, 2013 in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 20: Wiley performs on stage at The Forum on April 20, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Burak Cingi/Redferns via Getty Images)
LEICESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 23: Skepta and Wiley perform on stage at O2 Academy Leicester on September 23, 2012 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ollie Millington/Redferns via Getty Images)
London MC Wiley (aka Eskiboy or Wiley Kat), founder member of grime music collective Roll Deep and formerly of the Pay As You Go Cartel, circa 2002. He was born Richard Kylea Cowie in 1979. (Photo by Chris Lopez/Sony Music Archive via Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

As a result, singers like Beverley Knight and Jessie Ware, Doctor Who star Tracy-Ann Oberman and a host of other soap stars, actors, academics and politicians have all pledged to boycott Twitter for 48 hours, starting on Monday morning.

They are being supported by the British political campaign group, Labour Against Anti-Semitism, which accused Twitter of a "repeated failure to tackle antisemitism on the platform" in a statement.

"The message needs to be clear, that Twitter must review its internal processes immediately, start blocking anti-Semitic accounts and radically improve its protection for its users from racism," said Denny Taylor, a spokesman for the group.

The protest has been promoted before, using the #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate hashtag.

Addressing Twitter and its CEO Jack Dorsey, Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle newspaper, tweeted Saturday: "You refuse to act against Jew hate. You enable the likes of@WileyCEO to spread their poison."

Luciana Berger — who left Britain's Labour party last year over concerns over anti-Semitism in the party — has also said she will join the walkout.

"Twitter's inaction over the past few days has been shameful. It's enough. If you think so too, join us on Monday," she tweeted on Saturday.

The campaign was launched after Wiley — dubbed the "godfather of grime" — published a series of tweets asserting that Jews systematically exploited Black artists in the music industry. In one now-deleted tweet, the rapper likened Jews to the Ku Klax Klan.

Several video clips also appeared on his Instagram account on Friday and Saturday with statements of a similar nature.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism, which condemned the tweets as "conspiracy theories" and "antisemitic venom."

London's Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Saturday that they were investigating the posts by the rapper, who had a British number one single in 2012 and several other top 10 hits. He also received a U.K. government honor for his contribution to music in 2018.

on Saturday he would no longer represent the artist and had "cut all ties with him."said in a statement Less than 24 hours after his posts, John Woolf, of A-List Management,

- This article first appeared on NBC

Read Full Story Click here to comment

FROM OUR PARTNERS