A Timeline Of Kanye West’s Repercussions For His ‘WLM’ Shirts And Antisemitic Hate Speech
Kanye West is facing a high-profile reckoning. On Oct. 3, the “Hurricane” rapper made headlines for wearing a shirt with the phrase “White Lives Matter” on the back and featuring Black models in the shirt at his Yeezy Paris Fashion Week show. The phrase was popularised by neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, and the rapper has received backlash from fans and celebrities alike online.
But the controversy did not end there for Ye, who later took to Twitter to use antisemitic rhetoric in his posts, then continued to amplify his hate speech in interviews. The public’s reaction was swift, with several companies, including The Gap, Balenciaga, and others, ending their relationships and brand deals with the rapper.
According to Forbes, Ye lost his billionaire status after Adidas announced on October 25 that it was cancelling his due deal and that the brand does not tolerate hate speech. According to the publication, the move has increased Ye’s net worth to $400 million and resulted in his removal from Forbes’ billionaires list.
Adidas has since launched an internal investigation after several former employees accused West of inappropriate workplace behaviour while meeting with Adidas employees. People in his orbit have also distanced themselves from him, including former girlfriend Julia Fox and collaborator Pusha T. Furthermore, Ye’s dinner with Trump and white nationalist Nick Fuentes on November 22 was widely condemned, even by Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence.
Here are the consequences Kanye West has faced as a result of his “WLM” and antisemitic remarks, ranging from brand damage and cancelled documentaries to decreased airplay for his music catalogue and more.
Celebrities Condemn His Shirts & Hate Speech From October 3-9
Celebrities quickly expressed their outrage over the rapper’s “White Lives Matter” t-shirts, as well as his Oct. 8 tweet threatening to go “death con 3 on Jewish people.”
Jaden Smith was one of the first people to speak out. The young rapper, who was present at Ye’s Paris Fashion Week show, exited the Yeezy event early. He later tweeted that he didn’t care who was on the show: “If I Don’t Feel The Message, I’m Out.” “Brown Lives Matter.”
In a video, Diddy also spoke out about the shirts. “All America has in store for us is poverty, incarceration, and death,” he declared. “Before I get to any other lives matter… Black lives matter, don’t mess with it.”
Jamie Lee Curtis was one of many celebrities who spoke out strongly in response to Ye’s tweet. She first responded on Twitter with her own message, noting, “The holiest day in Judaism was last week.” Words are important. A threat to the Jewish people once resulted in genocide. You have a son. Please stop.” She later went on the TODAY show to express her concerns, calling his hate speech “absolutely abhorrent.”
Check out how musicians reacted to his anti-Semitic remarks and WLM t-shirts.
Radio Play Declines from October 10 to 17
Ye’s radio play dropped in the days following his anti-Semitic rants on Twitter and Instagram. West’s daily spins fell 21.1%, from 325 in the eight days preceding his social account restrictions to 258 in the eight days following them, according to Luminate, while his average daily radio audience fell 21.4%.
Oct. 19: Ari Emanuel Requests That Ye’s Business Partners Cut Ties
Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel urged several of Ye’s business partners, including Apple, Spotify, and others, to stop doing business with the rapper in an op-ed published in the Financial Times. In his piece, he urged Parler not to go ahead with the rapper’s acquisition of their platform, citing a similar 2006 op-ed in which he urged entertainment companies to stop working with actor Mel Gibson due to antisemitic remarks.
“West is not just any ordinary person; he is a pop culture icon with millions of fans worldwide,” Emanuel wrote. “Among them are young people whose opinions are still forming.” This is why it is so important for all of us to speak up. Hatred and anti-Semitism have no place in our society, regardless of the stakes.”
“Those who continue to do business with West provide an audience for his misguided hatred,” the CEO added. “There should be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in the West anywhere.”
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