Opinion: The dangerous influence of Ye West


Marissa Leibowitz

North Penn student observing Ye West’s twitter page where he has been posting his antisemetic ideas

Opinions expressed in the Op/Ed section of The Knight Crier are not necessarily reflective of the views of the entire staff of the KC. 

One person can revive a movement that should have never existed in the first place. A string of tweets, Instagram posts, and interviews have proven Ye West to be blatantly antisemitic, and his influence needs to end. 

On Saturday, October 8th, Ye West, formerly known as Kanye West, took to Twitter and Instagram to begin a string of antisemitic comments that the platforms have now removed. 

I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE. The funny thing is I actually can’t be Anti-Semitic because black people are actually Jews also,” West wrote on Twitter. 

West’s “death con 3”  mention refers to the military term “DEFCON,” which the military uses to identify a severe threat. West blatantly describes Jewish people as a threat and is spreading that message to his 31.7 million followers on Twitter. His other claim that he, as a black man, cannot be antisemitic is another blatant representation of antisemitism. Antisemitism is defined as hostility and prejudice towards Jewish people. Any person showing hostility and bias, which West is doing in his tweet, can be labeled antisemitic.

West also posted a conversation with Sean “P. Diddy” Combs on Instagram, claiming that Combs is being “controlled by the Jews.” The discussion released by West was centered around Combs insulting West’s “White Lives Matter” shirts that Combs disagreed with. What does a t-shirt spreading a completely non-related message have to do with Jewish people? West is spreading the ideas of an old antisemitic conspiracy theory related to a group of Jewish people having more influence on well-known people and having hidden government control. West is taking every opportunity to spread his hateful beliefs to his followers and the world, which is very dangerous.        

After West’s “death con 3” tweet, a well-known antisemitic group, the Goyim Defense League, hung banners above the Los Angeles 405 freeway. The banners stated, “Kanye is right about the Jews” and “Honk if you know.” Protesters above were seen doing the “Heil Hitler” salute. Similar flyers were being placed around the famous outdoor mall in Los Angeles, The Grove, spreading more antisemitic propaganda. Los Angeles is known to be one of, if not the most, progressive and culturally accepting cities in the U.S. If a group like this is successfully spreading these hateful messages, what happens when groups like this start to emerge in places where this hatred is prominent? 

According to relevance.org, West’s target and typical audience are 16-24-year-old men, and this age group is known to be more influenced. If high school men listen to someone, they look up to and look at as an influence, what stops them from believing everything he is saying? 

This is precisely how movements begin—an influential person posting a single tweet or spreading hate like this. The world is supposed to be going in the direction of acceptance, and as these tweets and quotes come out by a very influential man like West, his target audience will absorb these ideas.

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving also took to Twitter to share an antisemitic movie, later apologizing for it and claiming it was not a representation of his beliefs. 

Another example of an influential person spreading hate speech. Why would Irving share this antisemitic video with his followers if it did not align with his beliefs? 

His actions did come with consequences. He has been suspended for five games with no pay by the NBA. Like Irving, Kanye also received consequences for his actions. 

West has been dropped by many notable brands, including Adidas, Gap, Balenciaga, JP Morgan Chase, MRC, CAA, Foot Locker, TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and even his legal representation. West claims he “lost 2 billion dollars in one day” because of the loss in sponsorships, and rightfully so. Supporting West is an awful look for these companies; their morals do not align either. 

Irving saw an influential man like West express himself and saw his opportunity to share his controversial and hateful beliefs. If Irving was not afraid to share his hatred because of West, when does it get to the point where people are not afraid to express their hate? 

Hopefully, more people will see West as an antagonist and an overall dangerous man instead of feeding into his hatred and being influenced by him. 

A typical sense of humor for teenagers is taking a severe idea and morphing it into a joke. As a person with a Jewish family and Jewish ethnicity, hearing West’s tweets and statements are incredibly hurtful. His tweets may seem unrealistic, but after weeks of comments, it is clear these are his true feelings.  

Many high school students must realize that they can no longer separate the man from the music. Listening to and downloading West’s music still supports him and gives him a greater influence to share these antisemitic ideas. As a high school population, we have the opportunity to stop this hate from West. The high school population is giving him his power, and now they have the chance to take it away.