Tucker Carlson applauded Kanye West’s ‘bold’ beliefs — but he edited out a lot of antisemitism
Over the weekend, the rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, posted several antisemitic statements to Twitter and Instagram, alleging that the rapper Diddy is being controlled by Jews. He then threatened to go “death con 3” on “JEWISH PEOPLE.”
Right before that, however, Ye had made himself the darling of right-wing politicians by wearing a shirt that read “White Lives Matter” at Paris Fashion Week. This also scored him an interview on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” during which he endorsed various right-wing positions, criticized “woke” culture and alluded to antisemitic beliefs about Jewish control of businesses. In sections that were edited out of the interview and obtained Tuesday by Motherboard, however, Ye also made overt antisemitic statements, invoking numerous overlapping conspiracy theories against Jews.
In one hard-to-follow statement, Ye explained his pro-life stance with a statement against Planned Parenthood, which he accused of teaming up with the Ku Klux Klan to “control the Jew population.” This may sound friendly to Jews, but Ye went on to explain that, to him, “Jew” meant “the 12 lost tribes of Judah, the blood of Christ, who the people known as the race Black really are.”
In another aside, Ye complained that his children’s school “teaches Black kids a complicated Kwanzaa” instead of Christmas, which he pronounced as “Christ-mass.” He then added: “I prefer my kids knew Hanukkah instead of Kwanzaa. At least it would come with some financial engineering.” He then laughed briefly.
The rapper also made a confusing reference to Jews’ bad dancing. While the least overtly antisemitic of his Jewish references, this is the only statement about Jews that Ye seemed concerned about. “People are going to get mad at that sh-t,” he said, and asked Carlson to edit the comment out of the finished segment.
Ye’s antisemitic statements pull from a grab bag of dangerous lies about Jews.
Connecting Hanukkah to “financial engineering” invokes one of the oldest antisemitic conspiracy theories: that Jews control banking.
His explanation that Black people are Jews is more complicated. But like his since-deleted tweet from Sunday, it draws from a school of beliefs that teach that Black people are the true Israelites of the Bible — and that non-Black Jews are usurpers who have stolen Black people’s identity. (Followers of this belief have various names and leaders, and a diverse set of theologies, but are sometimes collectively dubbed the Radical Hebrew Israelites, including by the Southern Poverty Law Center.)
Of course, if Ye is actually referring to Black people such as himself when he references Jews, his violent threat Sunday to go “death con 3” against Jewish people or his accusation that rapper Diddy is being controlled by Jews makes little sense. But very little of the deleted portion of the interview followed clear logic.
Other footage that did not make the segment Carlson aired included Ye saying that “fake children” had been placed into his home in order to groom or sexualize his own kids. At one point, the musician spoke about having visions from God about building “free energy, kinetic, fully kinetic energy communities,” followed by a nonsensical flood of words to explain what, exactly, kinetic free energy is.
Even the portions of the interview Carlson did air were hard to follow. In one instance, Ye rambled about the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from the Pixar movie “Encanto” as Carlson frowned in concentration.
Ye has been public about his bipolar diagnosis, and about the fact that he sometimes goes off his medication for periods. He has also described the level of paranoia that often accompanies his manic episodes.
The rapper may have gravitated toward his particular antisemitic brand of paranoia because he is already steeped in conspiracy theories about Jews. Mental illness does not excuse his statements, nor mitigate the danger of broadcasting antisemitic and anti-LGBTQ beliefs to his over 30 million followers.
Ye was also interviewed Monday by Youtube talks show “Uninterrupted The Shop,” which is produced by LeBron James and Maverick Carter. Carter told The Hollywood Reporter that the rapper used the show to “reiterate more hate speech and extremely dangerous stereotypes.” The producers decided not to air the show so as not to give Ye’s rhetoric a platform. “Hate speech should never have an audience,” Carter said.
Carlson apparently does not share this belief or caution regarding hate speech. The Fox host mentioned the rapper’s struggles with mental illness on air. But he did so in order to dismiss worries about Ye’s mental state — and further boost Ye’s beliefs to his own audience, legitimizing it with the powerful trappings of trust and truth Fox News has (somehow) built with its audience.
Though show did cut out some of the most obviously harmful and antisemitic statements the rapper made — Carlson only endorses certain conspiracy theories — it also left in some of Ye’s more veiled, but still dangerous, comments. And hiding some Ye’s most extreme statements also made it easier to give him, as well as his more thinly-veiled antisemitic statements, the Tucker Carlson stamp of approval.
At the end of the interview, Carlson told his audience Ye is “worth listening to.”