Opinion: Kanye West doesn’t deserve a free pass anymore


Credit: Alyssa Ao

WSPN’s Bella Schreiber discusses Kanye West’s recent hateful comments, along with his past actions towards certain groups.

Bella Schreiber

18.2 million. That’s how many people on Instagram are following Kanye West. Even worse, 31.6 million people follow him on Twitter. Millions of people enable, if not agree, with his horrible behaviors.

From running for president to wearing a “White Lives Matter” shirt, West’s antisemitic comments have served as prominent problems throughout his career.

West has not been held accountable for his actions. Although Adidas has finally dropped West, it took far too much time for the company to end its partnership with the rapper.

Adidas’s partnership with West was to make the shoe Yeezy. Partnering with West had a huge global impact on Adidas, boosting the company from almost nowhere to competing closely with Nike. Knowing his impact on Adidas and the many releases they had planned and already made for this year, it’s understandable why the company would be more hesitant to drop West. Even then, Adidas should have cut ties with West earlier on.

Throughout his career, West has made multiple comments targeting mainly Jewish people and Black people. During Paris Fashion Week, he even showed up wearing a ‘White Lives Matter’ shirt, shocking fans. He invalidated others’ feelings by wearing that shirt. And, it’s time that there were more consequences for West’s inexcusable behavior.

It’s time for Apple Music and Spotify to acknowledge our discomfort and understand the need to drop West, following suit with Adidas. He should not be continuing to gain profit from his music until he, at the very least, changes his discriminatory behavior.

Personally, I’m past the point of caring whether it affects the companies financially. It should be about morality, not finances. And, an antisemitic, racist person should not be the face of a company.

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years…That sounds like a choice,” West said in an interview in 2018. “You were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.”

The moment West declared this in an interview, should have been the moment when everyone “cancelled” him. He should have lost his partnerships and followers and been removed from every music platform. Unfortunately, like always, it was swept under the rug by his listeners and ignored for years, so they could enjoy his music, guilt-free.

While I can never fathom why West, or anyone else for that matter, would say anything so disrespectful, he did it, and it can’t be ignored. He has repeatedly demonstrated that he believes he can say whatever he wants, no matter who he is hurting. And, it’s our fault. For far too long, society has shown him that he doesn’t have to face the repercussions of his actions, and it’s time we finally hold him accountable.

Some people would argue that we should excuse his irrational behavior because of his mental illnesses, specifically his bipolar disorder. Don’t get me wrong, it is crucial for West to get the help he needs. However, the issue arises when people use mental illness as an excuse for fueling malicious agendas.

Whether he means to or not, West has welcomed hate groups and speech into the world on more than one occasion.

“I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE,” West said in a recent tweet.

This tweet is most likely referencing ‘defcon three,’ which is an American military response. There are five different levels, with one being nuclear warfare. West tweeting death con, or decon, 3 on Jewish people is most definitely nothing to joke about. It is a clear wish for violence on Jewish people.

West has a history of being antisemitic. Those who have worked with West in the past have said he has openly spread conspiracy theories about Jewish people, as well as applauded Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party.

Since his recent tweets, there has been a concerning rise in antisemitism in the country. Neo-Nazi groups are taking West’s words and running with them. On Oct. 22, there were a group of people hanging a sign reading, ‘Kanye is right about the Jews’ over an interstate while doing a Nazi salute. While these are solely spoken words right now, it is horrifying to think about what it could lead to.

I urge everyone to look at the facts and stay persistent with their activism. On Twitter, West has over 30 million followers, around double the estimated 15.2 million Jewish people in the world. We can’t keep repeating ourselves in this toxic cycle of canceling West for a few days or weeks, then immediately going back to him and encouraging his behavior. The last thing we need in this world is more hate- we have enough of that.

Go on Instagram. Scream for an apology. Don’t forget what he has done and don’t support him as an artist or person. If everyone works together, maybe we can slow down Kanye West’s agenda.