The rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, has been engaged in a months-long attempt to mainstream antisemitism. What began as antisemitic statements made in an interview with Tucker Carlson has devolved into courting Holocaust deniers such as Nick Fuentes and bringing them to dine with former President Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago.
Naturally, the speed of events has left many people wondering whether Ye’s antisemitism is, in fact, as sudden as it appears.
In truth, Ye’s earliest documented antisemitic incident occurred when he found himself in hot water with the Anti-Defamation League due to comments he made in a 2013 radio interview.
“Man, let me tell you about [former President] George [W.] Bush and oil money and [then-President Barack] Obama and no money. People want to say Obama can’t make these moves or he’s not executing. That’s because he ain’t got those connections.” Ye said. “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people. Black people don’t have the same connection as oil people.”
The comments were made on New York City’s Hip-Hop and R&B radio station Power 105.1 FM and denounced by ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman at the time.
“If the comments are true as reported, this is classic antisemitism,” said Foxman. “There it goes again, the age-old canard that Jews are all-powerful and control the levers of power in government. As a celebrity with a wide following, [Ye] should know better. We hope that he will take responsibility for his words, understand why they are so offensive, and apologize to those he has offended.”
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan defended Ye’s comments at the time, saying he should not “bow to the pressure to apologize to anybody” and that he “said nothing wrong.”
In an interview with Chicago radio station B96, Ye proffered a lukewarm apology for his remarks.
“I thought that I was giving a compliment, but it came off more ignorant. When I said this comment about Jews having money and blacks not having money, I think it was, like, a [sic] ‘ignorant compliment,’ ” he said.
Ye then seemed to backtrack by stating that he was unsure how he was being insulting, since what he said was a compliment. “I don’t know how being told that you have money is, like, an insult,” he said.
This past October, a later incident was reported in a CNN exclusive stating that “several people” with ties to Ye told CNN that he has long been “fascinated by Adolf Hitler.” No fewer than four people, CNN reports, alleged that Ye originally wished to name his 2018 album “Hitler.”
The exclusive report then goes on to reference recent comments made by former TMZ employee Van Lathan Jr. about Ye’s 2018 interview appearance at the tabloid news outlet.
“I already heard him say that stuff before at TMZ,” Lathan said about Ye’s antisemitic remarks on the Higher Learning podcast. “I mean, I was taken aback because that type of antisemitic talk is disgusting. It’s like, I’m taken aback any time anyone does that, right? But as far as [Ye], I knew that that was in him because when he came to TMZ, he said that stuff and they took it out of the interview.…He said something like, ‘I love Hitler, I love Nazis.’ Something to that effect when he was there. And they took it out of the interview for whatever reason. It wasn’t my decision.”
Ye has continuously doubled down on his antisemitic remarks and defended his actions. As a result, he has been widely condemned by celebrities, politicians, business corporations and the Jewish community.
A timeline of events may be useful:
Oct. 6, 2022
In an interview on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Ye accused Trump’s Jewish son-in-law, Jared Kushner, of brokering the Abraham Accords solely because of his and his family’s interest in “making money.”
Oct. 7, 2022
Ye shared screenshots of text messages between him and fellow rapper Diddy, aka Sean Combs, who attempted to discuss Ye’s decision to wear a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt at his Paris fashion show. Ye claimed that Jews sent Diddy to reason with him, saying, “Ima use you as an example to show the Jewish people that told you to call me that no one can threaten or influence me.”
Oct. 8, 2022
Ye tweeted, “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.” He added, “The funny thing is I actually can’t be antisemitic because black people are actually Jew also You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.”
Oct. 9, 2022
Leaving his followers with a question, Ye asked, “Who you think created cancel culture?” Many believe this was a reference to Jews.
Ye’s Twitter account was then restricted because of tweets that violated the platform’s terms of service.
Oct. 10, 2022
Daily Wire host and conservative pundit Candace Owens defended her friend Ye, claiming, “If you are an honest person, you did not think this tweet was antisemitic.”
Oct. 12, 2022
An unaired segment from the Oct. 6 Carlson interview was leaked. In it, Ye made a further connection between Jews and money, stating, “I prefer my kids knew Chanukah from Kwanzaa. At least it will come with some financial engineering.”
Ye further claimed that all black people are actually Jewish, saying, “Planned Parenthood was made by Margaret Sanger, a known eugenics, with the KKK to control the Jew population.…When I say Jew, I mean the 12 lost tribes of Judah, the blood of Christ, who the people known as the race black really are. This is who our people are. The blood of Christ. This, as a Christian, is my belief.”
Oct. 16, 2022
Ye appeared on the Drink Champs podcast, claiming he cannot be antisemitic because he is also Jewish “as the blood of Christ.” He then began to trumpet antisemitic tropes about a Jewish-controlled media and entertainment industry.
“Jewish people have owned the black voice,” he said. “Either it’s through us wearing the Ralph Lauren shirt, or it’s all of us being signed to a record label, or having a Jewish manager, or being signed to a Jewish basketball team, or doing a movie on a Jewish platform like Disney.”
Before going on to blame “Jewish Zionists” for publicizing Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson’s intimate moment by a fireplace, he said, “I respect what the Jewish people have done, and how they brought their people together.”
Oct. 17, 2022
In an interview with Chris Cuomo, Ye spoke about the “Jewish underground media mafia” and said his “death con 3 “ remarks were prompted by “Jewish record labels” that not only “take control” of publishing but of the culture itself.
“It’s like modern-day slavery,” he said. “And I’m calling it out. That’s what ‘DEFCON three’ meant. I’m gonna call it out. It didn’t mean to wish any harm.”
Cuomo pushed back on the idea of a “Jewish media mafia,” saying, “Look, there is no Jewish media cabal mafia. You may have had bad business dealings with people—it’s about those people. It’s not about their religion or faith.”
After being suspended from multiple social media accounts for his antisemitic comments, Ye sent out a press release stating that he had just agreed to purchase Parler, a social media outlet frequently identified with the far-right.
“In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves,” the release stated.
Oct. 19, 2022
In an appearance on “Piers Morgan Uncensored,” Ye again asserted that he too is a Jew.
“I am a person that is classified as black,” he said. “I classify myself as Jew. I want to prove that first of all I am Jew also. Do your research on it. We have got our culture ripped from us.”
Ye added that he did not regret his comments about Jews but was sorry for the people he hurt with his “death con 3” comment and the families that did not play a role in the trauma he was experiencing.
Oct. 21, 2022
Ye responded to those putting pressure on Adidas to cut ties with him over his antisemitic comments.
“The thing about it being Adidas is like, I can literally say antisemitic s*** and they cannot drop me,” he said. “Now what?”
Oct. 24, 2022
Jewish podcaster Lex Friedman interviewed Ye, asking him about his use of the term “Jewish media.”
Ye responded, “You’re saying it’s redundant right? I’m saying it’s redundant. It’s a redundant statement. It’s the same thing.”
He also referred to Jewish billionaire George Soros, saying Soros uses “black trauma economy to win an election.” He repeated the assertion that Jews control the media and further claimed that Jewish doctors control his life.
Ye’s ex-wife and the mother of his children, Kim Kardashian, denounced him on Twitter.
“Hate speech is never OK or excusable,” the reality star tweeted to her 73 million followers. “I stand together with the Jewish community and call on the terrible violence and hateful rhetoric towards them to come to an immediate end.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom also condemned Ye’s antisemitic remarks after a banner appeared above the 405 freeway in Los Angeles that read, “Kayne is right about the Jews.”
Oct. 25, 2022
Adidas terminated its partnership with Ye’s Yeezy brand, calling his comments “unacceptable, hateful and dangerous.” Shortly thereafter, Forbes released a report that found Ye’s net worth had plummeted from $2 billion to $400 million.
Media company MRC released a statement that said the company would scrap a Ye-themed documentary due to his antisemitic statements.
Oct. 27, 2022
CNN released a report that sources close to Ye had said he wanted to name his 2018 album after Adolf Hitler.
Oct. 28, 2022
Elon Musk officially took over Twitter.
Ye held an impromptu press conference in a parking lot and read a list of top media and entertainment executives who are Jews.
Nov. 1, 2022
A Bloomberg report claimed Adidas “obliterated” 40% of its profits—$2 billion in annual revenue—as a result of severing ties with Ye. According to the report, the top executives of the German sporting goods giant hesitated “because they first wanted to obtain opinions from outside law firms in the U.S. that if Adidas went ahead with the termination of the Ye partnership, it wouldn’t be deemed as an obstruction of an ongoing court mediation process.”
Nov. 4, 2022
Ye tweeted, “Starting to think antisemitic means [the N word].” Twitter has since removed the tweet.
Nov. 8, 2022
Owens clarified her stance on Ye, saying he did make antisemitic and racist remarks but that she will stand by him as “he weathers this tremendous storm.” She added that she also stands with her Jewish friends and supporters who “have endured what may have felt like a very heavy silence” from her.
Nov. 10, 2022
After severing ties with Ye, Adidas pledged to donate $1 million over four years to the Anti-Defamation League to help fight antisemitism.
“There is no place for antisemitism, racism and hatred in sport, within Adidas or within society. We acknowledge that we don’t always get things right. We are not perfect. But in this case, we know without a doubt we made the right decision. The racist and antisemitic hate speech by our former partner violated our values,” Adidas North America President Rupert Campbell said.
Nov. 20, 2022
Twitter reinstated Ye a month after he was blocked for violating rules on antisemitic posts. “Testing Testing Seeing if my Twitter is unblocked,” Ye wrote, adding in a follow-up message, “Shalom : )”
Nov. 22, 2022
Ye took Holocaust denier and white supremacist Nick Fuentes to Mar-a-Lago to meet former President Donald Trump. Fuentes, 24, is a leading figure on the far-right known for radically offensive views on women, Jews and minorities. He has a history of denying the Holocaust, praising Hitler and making racist remarks about black Americans.
Fuentes was also present at the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, during which a far-right extremist murdered a counter-protester in a car-ramming attack.
Others present at the meeting with the former president were far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and Newsmax TV contributor and former Trump senior advisor Karen Giorno.
Nov. 25, 2022
Ye tweeted a video recapping his Mar-a-Lago visit and asked to be Trump’s running mate in the 2024 presidential election.
“Trump was really impressed with Nick Fuentes,” Ye said in the video. According to the video, however, the meeting went south when Trump insulted Kim Kardashian. Ye claimed Trump started screaming at him and telling him that Ye would be defeated in the presidential election.
Trump responded to criticism over the meeting with Ye and Fuentes in a statement on his social media platform, Truth Social. He claimed Ye “unexpectedly” showed up with three friends, whom he “knew nothing about.” He added that “the dinner was quick and uneventful. They then left for the airport.”
In a follow-up post, Trump claimed that Ye was asking for advice “concerning some of his difficulties, in particular having to do with his business.” He added that he told Ye not to run for president because “any voters you may have should vote for TRUMP.” He added that he and Ye “got along great, he expressed no antisemitism, & I appreciated all of the nice things he said about me on ‘Tucker Carlson.’ Why wouldn’t I agree to meet? Also, I didn’t know Nick Fuentes.”
Nov. 26, 2022
Trump posted about Ye on Truth Social again, claiming he was helping a “seriously troubled man, who just happens to be black, Ye (Kanye West), who has been decimated in his business and virtually everything else, and who has always been good to me, by allowing his request for a meeting at Mar-a-Lago, alone, so that I can give him very much needed ‘advice.’ ”
He reiterated that Ye showed up with three people, two of whom he claimed he didn’t know and one he hadn’t seen in years. “I told him don’t run for office, a total waste of time, can’t win. Fake News went CRAZY!” Trump added.
Nov. 28, 2022
Ye appeared with Fuentes and Yiannopoulos on podcaster Tim Pool’s show and pushed antisemitic conspiracy theories. About 20 minutes into the interview, Pool said he felt that “they” had been unfair to Ye.
“Who is ‘they,’ though?” Ye asked. “We can’t say who ‘they’ is can we?” Pool said he meant the corporate press, to which Ye responded, “What do you mean it’s not [the Jews]” and walked out of the interview.
Nov. 30, 2022
In an interview with Bari Weiss, incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke out about Ye’s dinner with Trump.
“I condemned Kanye West’s antisemitic statements,” Netanyahu said. “Straight away, I thought that was just wrong and misplaced. And I think that that’s what I would say about President Trump’s decision to dine with this person. I think it’s wrong and misplaced. I think it’s a mistake.”
Dec. 1, 2022
Dec. 7, 2022
After his Dec. 1 interview with Ye and Nick Fuentes, Alex Jones appeared on the Louder With Crowder podcast accusing them of fetishizing Hitler. “It’s like some homoerotic, you know, thing over Hitler. That is, kinda, what’s going on,” Jones said. “There’s this Hitler fetish. And no, I’m not into dudes in fancy, you know, peacock military uniforms.”
Dec. 8, 2022
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago rescinded the honorary degree it awarded to Ye, because of his recent antisemitic and anti-black remarks. “Ye’s actions do not align with SAIC’s mission and values, and we’ve rescinded his honorary degree,” the school said after a change.org petition called on the institution’s president to do so.
Dec. 12, 2022
Ye is named “2022 Antisemite of the Year” by the Watchdog group StopAntisemitism. “Kanye West’s threats of violence, hateful conduct and hate speech all led him to winning this year’s title,” a video post by the group stated.
Ye released a song inspired by the backlash he has faced over his repeatedly antisemitic comments. Titled “Someday We’ll All Be Free,” the song references people’s reactions to his antisemitism and his call for people to follow him. “You knew I followed G-d, so you should follow me.”
It was additionally revealed that Ye’s fashion brand Yeezy owes $600,000 in unpaid taxes.
Dec. 23, 2022
After severing ties with Ye, sportswear company Adidas is unable to sell $530 million worth of Yeezy brand shoes. In an attempt to reduce its losses, Adidas is selling the shoes under its own brand.