Twitter suspends Wiley and apologises for slow action on anti-Semitism

2013 Fusion Festival - Birmingham

Twitter has apologised for being slow to act as it announced it had permanently suspended rapper Wiley, six days after he posted a series of anti-Semitic tweets.

The musician, whose real name is Richard Cowie, was widely condemned for a series of anti-Jewish posts on the social media site starting on Friday, and was initially given a temporary ban, with the majority of his tweets remaining visible.

However, on Wednesday, Twitter said it had permanently suspended him.

A company spokesperson said: "Upon further investigation, our teams have permanently suspended the account in question for repeated violations of our hateful conduct policy.

"Let us be clear: hateful conduct has absolutely no place on our service and we strongly condemn antisemitism. We are sorry we did not move faster and are continuing to assess the situation internally. "

The company added: "We deeply respect the concerns shared by the Jewish community and online safety advocates, and we will continue to work closely with government, NGOs, civil society partners and our industry peers to tackle antisemitism on Twitter."

The Campaign Against Antisemitism welcomed the news that "Twitter has finally listened", but said the action was "too little too late".

It said in a statement: "It is at least a start for this deeply irresponsible social network.

"After Twitter's abysmal response to the blatant ant-Jewish incitement on its platform, last night we decided to literally shine a light on the company and project onto its London headquarters some of the hateful tweets that Twitter permits on its platform.

His account has been suspended for violating the Twitter rules. (Twitter)

"From their pitiful responses to the hate spewed daily on their platform, it is evident that social media companies will stop at nothing to make a profit. It is time for these deeply damaging and irresponsible companies to be held accountable for the hatred they help spread."

Yesterday the group protested outside the social media company's London office, projecting on to the building a message that read: "Twitter, we are all sick of your mess. CLEAN IT UP!"

Social networks have faced criticism for not acting sooner to take down the content, with Downing Street saying their response "has not been good enough".

Twitter and Instagram's alleged slowness to act prompted politicians, celebrities and other prominent names to carry out a 48-hour walkout from both platforms, using the hashtag #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate.

Facebook and Instagram banned Wiley from their platforms on Tuesday.

It appears that Twitter has finally suspended the account of Richard Cowie, or Wiley. But social media companies have not been strong or fast enough about tackling racism, misogyny or homophobia. Full statement by @BoDPres: #NoSafeSpaceForJewHatepic.twitter.com/qmOOdZI4Mp

— Board of Deputies of British Jews (@BoardofDeputies) July 29, 2020

Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: "It appears that Twitter has now suspended the account of Richard Cowie, or Wiley, six days after he began an extended antisemitic rant and nearly all the way through a 48-hour walkout from Twitter by the Jewish community and its allies.

"Instagram was also slow on this, deleting his profile only yesterday. It is just not good enough. Social media companies have not been strong or fast enough about tackling racism, misogyny or homophobia.

"We will be talking to Twitter today, and other social media companies and government partners over the coming days, to make sure this does not happen again. There must be #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate."

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