After getting locked out of Instagram again earlier this week for violating the site’s policies, Kanye West re-posted an image from his suspended IG on Twitter early Thursday morning (Nov. 3) of controversial Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving in what appears to be the embattled rapper’s latest provocation.
The timing of the tweet by West (who now goes by Ye) came after Irving released a joint statement with the Anti-Defamation League and his team in which the point guard and the Nets each pledged to donate $500,000 to “causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance” after Irving was widely criticized last week for sharing a link to an antisemitic movie on his social feeds.
The since-deleted tweet linked to a video posted by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones which promoted the antisemitic 2018 movie Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America. The post by Irving drew widespread condemnation at a time when Ye has been deplatformed and seen his once-formidable fashion and music empire greatly diminished after repeatedly spreading antisemitic hate speech.
Like Ye, Irving steadfastly defending his right to spread such rhetoric in a post-game press conference on Saturday at which he said, “In terms of the backlash, we’re in 2022, history is not supposed to be hidden from anybody and I’m not a divisive person when it comes to religion, I embrace all walks of life. So the claims of antisemitism and who are the original chosen people of God and we go into these religious conversations and it’s a big no, no, I don’t live my life that way.”
The NBA, Nets owner Joe Tsai and the ADL strongly condemned Irving for spreading antisemitic speech, with ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeting, “The book and film he promotes trade in deeply #antisemitic themes, including those promoted by dangerous sects of the Black Hebrew Israelites movement. Irving should clarify now.”
After initially defending his right to post on his personal accounts and vowing now to “stand down on anything I believe,” Irving reversed course and said in the statement, “I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day. I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community, and I take responsibility.”
Before his latest Instagram suspension, West posted a smiling pic of Irving on Sunday with the caption, “There’s some real ones still here.” Ye posted a different snap of Irving on Twitter Thursday with no comment just hours after the athlete’s mea culpa. In the wake of the Irving controversy, the Ye post was the latest provocation in a month-long spree in which the rapper has repeatedly made antisemitic remarks that Forbes reported has resulted in him losing his billionaire status as most of his high-profile fashion, music and sports marketing clients have fled his now-radioactive brand.
West had his Twitter account temporarily restricted after posting in early October that he was going to go “Death Con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE.” The Irving post marked Ye’s return to the platform a week after self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk bought the site; a new study reported that homophobic, racist and antisemitic hate speech on Twitter dramatically spiked in the hours and days following Musk’s takeover.
The amplification of anti-Jewish tropes by such high-profile figures also comes just months after the Anti-Defamation League — which tracks anti-Semitic behavior nationwide — reported a 34% rise in anti-Semitic incidents in 2021 (to 2,717), which averaged out to more than seven such incidents per day.
Check out Ye’s tweet and the Nets and Irving’s statements below.