Kanye West Returns to Twitter/X, Vows Against Posting Antisemitic Content
Elon Musk-owned social media platform reinstates Kanye West after his previous antisemitic remarks, sparking backlash from Jewish civil liberties groups.
Elon Musk's social media platform, formerly known as Twitter but now called X, has once again allowed Kanye West back onto the platform after his previous antisemitic outbursts led to his account being suspended twice. Observers who track West's presence on X noticed his reinstatement, disappearance, and subsequent reinstatement on Saturday. According to an anonymous source cited by the Wall Street Journal, West agreed to the platform's terms for reinstatement, which included refraining from posting antisemitic or offensive comments and not being able to monetize his account. However, West has yet to tweet since his reinstatement.
The decision to reinstate West has been met with strong criticism from major Jewish civil liberties groups. The Anti-Defamation League CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, expressed his disgust, tweeting, "Absolutely sickening that antisemite Kanye West was unsuspended from Twitter/X and given a gold verification check mark. He's done absolutely nothing to make amends." The American Jewish Committee also condemned the reinstatement, stating that it sends a negative message to Jew haters on the platform and beyond.
West's initial ban came in October of last year after he made posts that were interpreted as threats against Jews. He was reinstated in late November but was banned again in December after posting a swastika on his account. Elon Musk, who refers to himself as a "free speech absolutist," expressed his disappointment at the time, stating that West had violated the platform's rule against incitement to violence.
West's antisemitic views were not limited to his online presence. He also expressed them offline, appearing on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' Infowars podcast and repeatedly proclaiming, "I like Hitler." This outburst resulted in damaged relationships and job opportunities for West, including the loss of a lucrative deal with Adidas. Although he later claimed that watching Jonah Hill in "21 Jump Street" made him like Jewish people again, his statement was not taken seriously by Jewish groups and others.
It is worth noting that Musk, the owner of X and a prominent figure in the electric automobile industry, has faced criticism himself for potentially crossing the line into antisemitism. Despite calling himself a "free speech absolutist," he has banned accounts that he believed had personally attacked him. Since acquiring Twitter, Musk has reinstated accounts that were previously removed for racism, antisemitism, and promoting violence under the platform's previous ownership.
In response to the controversy surrounding West, Adidas, the company that produced Yeezy sneakers in collaboration with him, announced that buyers of the shoes would receive blue pins from Robert Kraft's Foundation to Combat Antisemitism. Adidas also pledged to donate proceeds from the sales to the Anti-Defamation League and a foundation established by the family of George Floyd, whose tragic murder by a police officer sparked significant racial justice protests in 2020. In May, Adidas had already committed to donating proceeds from Yeezy sales to organizations affected by West's statements but had not specified which groups would receive the funds.