CST says internet regulation 'overdue' after uproar over Wiley antisemitic rants

Outrage over rapper's social media outburts is leading to demands for tighter control of social media companies


British rapper Wiley poses on the red carpet arriving for the BRIT Awards 2017 in London on February 22, 2017. / AFP / NIKLAS HALLE'N / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE, TO ILLUSTRATE THE EVENT AS SPECIFIED IN THE CAPTION, NO POSTERS, NO USE IN PUBLICATIONS DEVOTED TO ARTISTS (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP via Getty Images)

The Community Security Trust has backed protests against Twitter and Instagram, saying the accounts of grime artist Wiley should have been “suspended permanently” over antisemitics posts. 

In a statement on Sunday, it condemned the rapper’s “antisemitic tirade” over the previous two days and criticised both platforms for allowing them to continue “for so long without consequence”. 

The Home Secretary Priti Patel, denouncing the posts as "abhorrent", tweeted, "They should not have been able to remain on Twitter and Instagram for so long and I have asked them for a full explanation. Social media companies must act much faster to remove such appalling hatred from their platforms."

A number of high-profile Jewish figures including actor Tracy-Ann Oberman and historian Simon Sebag-Montefiore have backed a 48-hour “walkout” from Twitter from Monday morning in protest. 

On Friday, the grime artist, whose real name is Richard Cowie, released a stream of tweets, saying “There are 2 sets of people who nobody has really wanted to challenge #Jewish & #KKK but being in business for 20 years you start to undestand [sic] why.” 

He also wrote, “Listen to me Jewish community Israel is not your country I’m sorry.” 

In another he claimed:” The Star of David that’s our ting … Some people have gotten too comfortable on lands that don’t belong to them” and said “Israel is ours”. 

After his account was briefly suspended, he was back tweeting on Saturday, until being banned from Twitter for seven days, and posted videos on Instagram. 

The CST said, “The decision by Twitter to remove only a handful of his tweets and impose a temporary lock on his account, leaving the rest of his antisemitic tweets visible for us all to see is dangerously weak. Similarly, several antisemitic videos remain visible on Wiley’s Instagram account. Both his accounts on Twitter and Instagram should have been suspended permanently.” 

The organisation said it had been in contact with the Metropolitan Police and was “pleased that they are investigating for potential offences”. 

On Saturday, the musician’s manager, John Woolf of A-List Management, said it had “cut all ties with him. There is no place in society for antisemitism.” 

But on Instagram Wiley claimed that it was he who had severed links with his management company.  

According to the BBC, Twitter said the musician’s account had been temporarily locked for “violating our hateful conduct policy”. 

Abuse and harassment had no place on the service and if it identified accounts that violated any of the rules, it would take enforcement action, Twitter said.  

But the CST said the incident demonstrated why internet regulation was “long overdue”. 

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies, said Twitter and Instagram had acted "too little and too late".

The Board called on social media companies to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism and for "a new regulator who can impose punitive fines when social media companies fail to crack down on hate".

It went without saying, she said, that "Wiley should be banned from all social media platforms".  

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive