YouTube under pressure to suspend Wiley’s account after anti-Semitic tweets

YouTube is under pressure to suspend the account of rapper Wiley after he continued to post videos days after being banned from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for anti-Semitic comments.

The musician, whose real name is Richard Cowie, was widely condemned for the anti-Jewish posts on Twitter starting on Friday, including one Instagram video where he said “crawl out from under your little rocks and defend your Jewish privilege”.

After being banned from three sites, he has continued uploading videos, one of which has already been taken down for violating YouTube’s hate speech policies.

The social media platform confirmed it has temporarily suspended monetisation on all his videos.

YouTube said: “Hate speech and content that promotes hate against religious groups is strictly prohibited on YouTube.

“We’ve worked hard to develop responsible and universal community guidelines that make clear what content is unacceptable on our platform and we enforce our policies consistently, and regardless of viewpoint.”

However, Marie van der, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, has called on YouTube to delete his account entirely after meeting with representatives of the site on Wednesday.

She said: “The Board of Deputies made it clear that we believed Wiley would soon be using their platform to spread the same anti-Semitic messages he has been spreading on other media platforms. As predicted, Wiley has begun doing so.

“We urge YouTube to follow the example of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and delete Wiley’s account.”

YouTube has said it will look at the broader context of Wiley’s videos and his behaviour off the platform when considering further action.

It comes as campaigners put pressure on the government to remove Wiley’s MBE — which he said he would be willing to give up as he “never wanted it”.

The musician insisted he is not racist as he apologised for “generalising” in his tweets — however, the Campaign Against Antisemitism is among the voices calling for Wiley’s MBE to be forfeited.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “Now that Wiley’s career as a performer is over and the social networks have finally stopped him from spewing hatred online, he must be stripped of his MBE and prosecuted.

“We have written to the Honours Forfeiture Committee at the Cabinet Office to ask that Wiley’s MBE be revoked, and similarly the message from the criminal justice system must be clear that those who incite racial hatred will face the full force of the law.”

A Cabinet Office spokesperson told the PA news agency: “The forfeiture process is confidential and it would be inappropriate to comment on individual cases.

“Should the authorities fail to act, we stand ready to take our own legal action.”

In the letter addressed to Sir Chris Wormald, chairman of the Honours Forfeiture Committee, the charity’s chief executive Gideon Falter wrote: “I hope that the committee will agree that Mr Cowie has brought the honours system into disrepute and should be stripped of his honour.”

The Government website says recipients of honours should “be, and to remain, good citizens and role models”, and encourages the public to email them if they believe someone with an honour has behaved in a way that could lead to forfeiture.

Barrister and legal commentator Jeremy Brier, 39, wrote an open letter to the Cabinet Office on Twitter in support of the MBEs forfeiture.

In his eight-tweet thread, Mr Brier said it was important Wiley’s honour be revoked “at the earliest opportunity”.

He wrote: “He has brought the honours system into disrepute by reason of holding an honour while simultaneously promulgating views which are outrageous to public decency, very probably an incitement to racial hatred and/or criminal offences against Jewish people, and in any event violent and racist.”

Mr Brier told the PA news agency: “When we give out honours we are effectively bestowing a real legitimacy on that person as a servant of our country and someone that has done very good deeds or contributed in a significant way.

“As a country, we can’t be seen to say ‘yes we give the cloak of respectability to people with extreme racist views.'”

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