Boris Johnson today laid into Wiley after thousands boycotted Twitter for 48 hours over its failure to close his account while Instagram declined to remove any of the rapper’s anti-Semitic and racist posts at all.
The Prime Minister believes the grime artist’s messages were ‘abhorrent’ and warned that ‘social media companies need to go much further and faster in removing hateful content. The message is clear – Twitter needs to do better on this’, his official spokesman said.
Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis has today written to Twitter boss Jack Dorsey and Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg saying: ‘This cannot be allowed to stand. Your inaction amounts to complicity.’
They are furious after Twitter chose to delete around 10 of Wiley’s anti-Semitic tweets rather than suspend his account for good after he compared Jews to the Ku Klux Klan and shared a wild conspiracy theory that four out five slave owners were Jewish.
Both Instagram and Twitter have insisted that he was stopped from using his accounts for a week since last Friday – but the so-called ‘Godfather of Grime’ has still published new incendiary posts since then.
Wiley, 41, was handed an MBE by Prince William in 2018 for services to British music – but critics have now called on him to be stripped of the honour for his foul comments with police also reportedly calling at his east London home.
Lord Sugar, Rachel Riley, Gary Lineker and Tracy-Ann Oberman are leading the Twitter ‘walkout’ that began at 9am today after accusing the company of ‘amplifying hate’ and not providing a ‘safe space’ for Jews.
Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, insists there is ‘no place for hate speech’.
But the social media giant has not deleted any of the same messages on Wiley’s Instagram account at all – with the British grime star still posting videos where he stands by his anti-Semitic claims including his bizarre conspiracy that Jews are systematically exploiting Black artists in the music industry.
In one of several swear-laden short films yesterday, Wiley refused to back down and told his 450,000 Instagram followers: ‘You see you sent 12 police to my house. I told you – you keep proving my point’.
And in response to claims he is a racist, he tweeted on Friday: ‘I am not racist I have realised how much you lot were taking the p**s that’s all you f***ing cowards’, calling his critics ‘wrong-uns’ and telling them to ‘shut up’.
The east London artist also posted widely-debunked conspiracy theories against the Jewish community on Instagram, which were still on the platform this afternoon.
A number of tweets were removed and he has been given a seven-day ban by the site.
On Sunday, a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said the platform had also issued the rapper with a seven-day block on his account.
But videos have appeared on there since then.
As well as facing a police probe and calls to be stripped of his MBE, the ‘godfather of grime’, real-name Richard Cowie, has also been dropped by his management.
He was thanked by former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for supporting the party at the last General Election – but the tweet was deleted on Saturday.
His posts to almost half-a-million followers asserted that Jews are systematically exploiting black artists in the music industry, and likened them to the Ku Klux Klan.
He has been widely condemned for a series of messages that began at the end of last week, in which he said: ‘I would challenge the whole world of Jewish community on my own I am not scared I can handle them.’
He also posted an Instagram video in which he said: ‘Crawl out from under your little rocks and defend your Jewish privilege.’
Police are investigating and he has been banned from both platforms for seven days, however Twitter has been accused of ‘ignoring anti-Semitism’, as his tweets were still visible 12 hours after they were first posted.
BBC hosty Emma Barnett has said the anti-Semitic tweets posted by Grime star Wiley ‘burn deep’.
Speaking on her BBC Radio 5 Live show, Barnett read out a string of his tweets and said: ‘Those words burn, I’m sure I don’t need to tell most of you that, but just in case I do, they burn deep and they are deeply dispiriting and they play on a very well hidden fear a lot of Jewish people have, that some day anti-Semitism will rise up once more, because anti-Semitism is fresh and so raw for us.’
She added: ‘Only two weeks ago I opened Twitter on my phone and what did i see? I saw ‘Jewish privilege’ trending. Do you know how that feels, how frightening that is? How angering that is?’
Addressing Wiley, Barnett continued: ‘Just in case you need something clarifying, Jews don’t run the law, Jews don’t run the banks, Jews don’t run, as you put it, the world.
‘I hate to disappoint you, and anyone else who got your anti-Semitic memo, but it ain’t true.’
Comedian David Baddiel told Times Radio that anti-Semitism operates in a ‘kind of dual attack’ and said: ‘Anti-Semites can sometimes feel like and look like that they are punching up, that they are wearing the clothes of revolution and speaking out against the man.
‘And all the sorts of things that are on Twitter can feel like you’re fighting the good fight. And this goes back a long way. And it’s always been called the socialism of fools and whatnot.’
Twitter has previously said ‘abuse and harassment’ have ‘no place’ on its service. Facebook, which owns Instagram, said Instagram is ‘no place for hate speech’. Both claim to have suspended his account for seven days. But they are under pressure to do more.
Tracy-Ann Oberman, who has appeared on hit shows including Friday Night Dinner, Doctor Who and the Tracey Ullman show, thanked friends for joining the boycott before she stepped away from the platform for 48 hours.
She also accused Twitter of manually trying to remove the hashtag #NoSafePlaceForJewHate.
‘Interesting @twitter has tried to MANUALLY stop the hashtag #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate by removing it from trending at #2 globally,’ she said.
‘Perfect example @jack of your site being prejudiced. #Stopit. #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate. Thanks for altering it whoever just did at @twitter HQ keep the tag.’
Politicians backing the boycott include Labour MPs Stella Creasy and Jess Phillips, and Conservative MP Brendan Clarke-Smith.
The official Labour party account has tweeted its support but said that as the official opposition it is its duty to hold the government to account and it ‘cannot afford to be absent on social media platforms’.
The Jewish Chronicle is also supporting the campaign, posting: ‘We are now saying #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate and walking out of Twitter until 9am UK time on Wednesday.’
Wiley revealed yesterday that, following the outpouring of criticism, 12 police officers had visited his home in east London.
His posts have been slammed by social media users as ‘venom’, ‘vile’ and ‘disgraceful’.
The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism has called for Wiley to be prosecuted for inciting racial hatred, for his MBE to be revoked, and for Twitter and Instagram to delete his accounts.
‘Wiley has spent today engaged in an escalating rant which has culminated in calls for Jews to be shot and for black people to go to ‘war’ against them,’ they said yesterday.
‘After a day spent likening Jews to the Ku Klux Klan and claiming that Jews had cheated him and were ‘snakes’, Wiley tweeted that Jews should ‘hold some corn’.
‘This is a slang expression meaning they should be shot. He added: ‘Jewish community you deserve it’.’
They added: ‘Wiley has many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media and we have seen today that a significant number of them truly believe the unhinged hatred that he is spreading.
‘We are treating this as a very serious matter which must be met with the firmest of responses.’
In one rant, Wiley said: ‘Listen to me Jewish community Israel is not your country I’m sorry… The Star of David that’s our ting… Some people have gotten too comfortable on lands that don’t belong to them.’
Later, he wrote: ‘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… Red Necks Are the KKK and Jewish people are the Law… Work that out.’
He added: ‘If you work for a company owned by 2 Jewish men and you challenge the Jewish community in anyway [sic] of course you will get fired.’
In a seemingly unapologetic video posted to Instagram last night, Wiley said: ‘You see, you sent 12 police to my house. This is why I told you, you keep proving my point. You keep proving my point.
‘Anyway, Sky News.’
Slamming Twitter for taking so long to remove the posts, Priti Patel said yesterday: ‘The anti-Semitic posts from Wiley are abhorrent.
‘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 Wiley’s posts have now been removed from Twitter, and he has been barred from the platform for seven days.
A spokesman for Facebook, which owns Instagram, said there was ‘no place for hate speech on Instagram’.
Twitter and Facebook have both previously been accused of not doing enough to stop the spread of hate speech and harmful content on their platforms.
New regulation to better hold online companies to account is currently being prepared by the Government.