Rapper Wiley apologizes for comments about Jews — then offers more
(JTA) — The British rapper Wiley apologized for “generalizing” about Jews in tweets directed at his manager and others in the music industry that were widely panned as anti-Semitic — and then proceeded to make additional assertions about Jews and Jewish control of the music industry.
Wiley made the apology in an interview with Sky News after Twitter permanently banned him from the platform. But in that interview and in an interview with The Voice Newspaper, which bills itself as “Britain’s Favorite Black Newspaper,” Wiley continued his tirade.
“My comments should not have been directed to all Jews or Jewish people. I want to apologize for generalizing, and I want to apologize for comments that were looked at as anti-Semitic,” Wiley told Sky News in an interview that aired Wednesday evening. “I’m not racist, you know. I’m a businessman. My thing should have stayed between me and my manager, I get that.”
Wiley’s manager, who is Jewish, following the Twitter tirade by his client announced on Friday that he would no longer represent the rapper.
Later in the Sky News interview, Wiley insisted that “the Jewish community are powerful within the music business.”
In an interview with Wiley published Wednesday, The Voice wrote that “some of the views espoused by Wiley are the great unsaid outside of the black community. … not too many seem prepared to vocalize their consternation for some of the recurring themes Wiley believes is the stranglehold one community seems to have over another in particular relation but not confined to, the music business.”
Wiley told The Voice that the people he is talking about specifically are “the people I work with in the entertainment and music industry, the Jewish community that I have experienced.”
He added: “I haven’t experienced a Jewish community that I haven’t worked with.”
Asked about his issues with the Jews he has worked with, Wiley said that they are “rich” and have worldwide “heritage.”
Throughout the interview he rarely says Jews or Jewish, using instead “they” “them” or “these people.”
The writer of the piece, Entertainment Editor Joel Campbell, suggests that there needs to be a discussion “about the hypothesis that you need to get a Jewish lawyer in order to progress in the music business.” He said that “I’ve never seen anyone Jewish refute or confirm this.”
Some of Wiley’s tweets were reported to Britain’s Metropolitan Police, who reportedly are investigating them for incitement to racial hatred.
Wiley received an MBE, an Order of the British Empire award, in 2018 for his services to music and there are calls for it to be rescinded.
Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl responded to the interview, saying in a statement that the organization is “saddened and concerned that The Voice, with its long history of campaigning against racial injustice, has run a piece that echoed and amplified Wiley’s racist tropes, rather than challenging them. We urge the paper to reflect, rectify and move focus to mutual solidarity.”
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