LONDON — Celebrities, politicians and other high profile Brits have pledged to join a 48-hour "walkout" from Twitter to protest what they say is an inadequate response to anti-Semitic tweets from a rapper.
Wiley — who is considered a key figure in London’s grime music scene — is facing a police investigation after a string of anti-Semitic comments appeared on his social media accounts last week.
The 41-year-old rapper, whose real name is Richard Cowie, has nearly half a million followers on his Twitter account, which is currently suspended.
Some of his statements have been deleted by the social media giant for violating its "hateful conduct policy." But others remain, drawing criticism from other users of the platform.
As a result, singer Jessie Ware, Doctor Who star Tracy-Ann Oberman and a host of other soap stars, actors, academics and politicians have all pledged to boycott Twitter for 48 hours, starting on Monday morning.
They are being supported by the British political campaign group, Labour Against Anti-Semitism, which accused Twitter of a "repeated failure to tackle antisemitism on the platform" in a statement.
"The message needs to be clear, that Twitter must review its internal processes immediately, start blocking anti-Semitic accounts and radically improve its protection for its users from racism," said Denny Taylor, a spokesman for the group.
The antisemitic posts from Wiley are abhorrent.
They should not have been able to remain on Twitter and Instagram for so long and I have asked them for a full explanation.
Social media companies must act much faster to remove such appalling hatred from their platforms.
— Priti Patel (@pritipatel) July 26, 2020
This sentiment was echoed by British Home Secretary Priti Patel, who said on Sunday that, "Social media companies must act much faster to remove such appalling hatred from their platforms."
The protest against Twitter has been promoted using the #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate hashtag.
Addressing Twitter and its CEO Jack Dorsey, Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle newspaper, tweeted Saturday: “You refuse to act against Jew hate. You enable the likes of@WileyCEO to spread their poison.”
You refuse to act against Jew hate, @Twitter @jack.
You enable the likes of @WileyCEO to spread their poison.
You choose to allow it on here.
So we say: #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate
At 9am on Monday, let's tell Twitter it has to act. Please join our 48 hour walk out. pic.twitter.com/IuOn67onhc
— Stephen Pollard (@stephenpollard) July 25, 2020
Luciana Berger — who left Britain's Labour party last year over concerns over anti-Semitism in the party — has also said she will join the walkout.
"Twitter's inaction over the past few days has been shameful. It’s enough. If you think so too, join us on Monday," she tweeted on Saturday.
The campaign was launched after Wiley — dubbed the "godfather of grime” — published a series of tweets asserting that Jews systematically exploited Black artists in the music industry. In one now-deleted tweet, the rapper likened Jews to the Ku Klax Klan.
Several video clips also appeared on his Instagram account on Friday and Saturday with statements of a similar nature.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism condemned the tweets as "conspiracy theories" and "antisemitic venom."
London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Saturday that they were investigating the posts by the rapper, who had a British number one single in 2012 and several other top 10 hits. He also received a U.K. government honor for his contribution to music in 2018.
Less than 24 hours after his posts, John Woolf, of A-List Management, said in a statement on Saturday he would no longer represent the artist and had "cut all ties with him."
Reuters contributed to this report.