Ye, formerly Kanye West, kicked off Instagram and Twitter for hateful posts

Published 2022-10-13 10:12

Social media networks argue hate speech can silence important voices


Over the weekend, superstar hip-hop musician Kanye West, now legally known as Ye, was suspended from Instagram and Twitter for posting antisemitic comments.

Antisemitism is a form of discrimination or hate toward Jewish people.

Twitter and Instagram said the posts, which many are calling hate speech, violated their policies.

CBC Kids News talked to an expert to find out why these kinds of posts are harmful and why hate speech is banned on social media.

What happened?

The controversy began when Ye wore a "White Lives Matter" T-shirt to Paris Fashion Week on Sept. 26.

In response, rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs posted a video on Instagram in which he said he didn't support the shirt, and urged people not to buy it.

In an Instagram video, rapper Sean 'Diddy' Combs said he didn’t 'rock with' Ye’s ‘White Lives Matter’ T-shirt. Combs said that all lives do indeed matter, not just Black lives, but that the T-shirt undermines the Black Lives Matter movement. (Image credit: Diddy/Instagram)

On Friday, Ye created an Instagram post suggesting Diddy was controlled by Jewish people, according to media reports.

The same day, Instagram then suspended Ye from the platform and removed the post.

Ye appeared on Fox News with Tucker Carlson on Oct. 6 to explain why he wore a ‘White Lives Matter’ T-shirt. When asked why, he said 'because they do.' (Image credit: Fox News/YouTube)

Ye then returned to Twitter for the first time in two years on Saturday night, sending a tweet with more antisemitic content.

Twitter suspended him from the platform and removed the post.

Following the posts, several media outlets reported that the YouTube talk show The Shop: Uninterrupted, which is hosted by basketball player LeBron James, decided to pull an upcoming segment with Ye after he again made hateful remarks.

This is not yet confirmed. CBC Kids News reached out to The Shop to confirm these details but has not heard back.

Hate speech is harmful, says expert

Both Instagram and Twitter have policies that state their users may not promote hate toward others, particularly on the basis of things like race and sexual orientation.

On their website, Twitter says that their stance against hate speech is part of their goal to create a safe space where users can express themselves fully without fear or persecution.

“We recognize that if people experience abuse on Twitter, it can jeopardize their ability to express themselves.”

Hazel Woodrow, the education facilitator at the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, said that Ye’s posts are hate speech because they play into antisemitic conspiracy theories about Jewish people running the world.

She said that’s harmful because it creates false ideas and negative attitudes toward Jewish people.

Woodrow said that Ye’s huge platform makes his hate even more harmful, since he has the power to influence large groups of people and make it seem like this behaviour is OK.

Echoing Twitter’s rationale, Woodrow said that allowing hate speech on social media means that “not everyone is able to participate as fully,” or feel comfortable sharing their voice.

“As users of these platforms, we then end up missing out on really useful, thoughtful and different perspectives of the world.”

Not the first controversy

From his infamous interruption of Taylor Swift’s VMA speech in 2009 to his bid for U.S. president in 2020, Ye has long been known for pulling focus in the public eye.

Between these events, Ye has also spoken openly about having a mental health condition called bipolar disorder, most notably on his 2019 album Ye.

Bipolar disorder is known to cause extreme mood swings, including emotional highs and lows.

That being said, users on social media, including author Roxane Gay, have said that bipolar disorder isn’t an excuse for this kind of behaviour.

For now, Ye’s Twitter and Instagram accounts remain visible to the public, but it’s unclear how long he will be locked out of his accounts.

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With files from The Associated PRess
TOP IMAGE CREDIT: (Image credit: Angel Weiss/Getty Images)

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