The British rapper known as Wiley issued an apology during a July 29 interview with Sky News regarding his tweets that were directed at “all Jews.”
Wiley, born Richard Kylea Cowie, denied being a racist.
“I’m a businessman,” Wiley said. “My thing should have stayed between me and my manager [John Woolf].”
Sky News correspondent Noel Phillips then pressed Wiley on his tweet that read “Jewish community you’re too touchy. Anyway, Israel is not yours.”
The rapper replied that it’s “silly” to think that it’s anti-Semitic to say that Jews are powerful in business, but he did apologize for generalizing the Jewish community in his tweets.
“I want to apologize for generalizing, number one, and I want to apologize for comments that were looked at as anti-Semitic,” Wiley said. “My comments should not have been directed to all Jews or Jewish people.”
However, Phillips noted that minutes later Wiley said, “The system and that man [Woolf] and the community of Jewish lawyers … have made me feel that way. Yes they have. They made me feel that way. Not anti-Semitic, they made me feel angry and upset because they are showing me their systemic racism and privilege that they’re allowed to use on us.”
Wiley also addressed his use of the phrase “hold some corn,” which the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism interpreted to mean “take bullets,” according to Sky News.
“I’m an MC [rapper],” he said. “We speak like that, ‘hold some corn.’ It doesn’t mean gun shooting. It means hold some corn lyrically. Stop trying to be clever.”
Phillips asked Wiley what he would say to any fans who potentially could be inspired to commit violence against Jews after seeing Wiley’s tweets. The rapper asked Phillips why he would ask such a question when Wiley has never committed any violence against Jews. Phillips kept pressing him on the matter, prompting Wiley to respond in an agitated manner: “Fans are fickle. Don’t wind me up. I’m 41 years old; it isn’t like I have a big bag of fans…. I’m at the end of my career rather than the beginning.”
Wiley also said he would be willing to return his MBE [Most Excellent Order of the British Empire] that he was awarded in 2018, claiming that he never had it in his physical possession.
“John Woolf’s got the MBE,” Wiley said. “I’ve never had the MBE. It’s framed in his house. Now who’s the MBE for, really?”
A spokesperson for Woolf told Sky News that the MBE has been at Woolf’s house and that Wiley can pick it up at any time. Woolf announced in a July 24 tweet that he and A-List Management parted ways with Wiley.
“Following Wiley’s anti-Semitic tweets today we at @A_ListMGMT have cut all ties with him,” Woolf wrote. “There is no place in society for anti-Semitism.”
Following Wileys anti semitic tweets today we at @A_ListMGMT have cut all ties with him. There is no place in society for antisemitism.
— John Woolf (@Jrwoolfw) July 24, 2020
Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl told Phillips that she doesn’t accept Wiley’s apology.
“The alarm and offense he’s caused is unimaginable and he’s clearly not sorry whatsoever,” van der Zyl said. “This is a man also with 500,000 Twitter followers. He needs to be charged with incitement to racial hatred. He needs to face the full force of the law.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted, “You [Wiley] say you had spat with your manager who is Jewish so you blasted out insidious anti-Semitic tropes to millions around the world slandering our people and you’re not a bigot?”
You say you had spat with your manager who is Jewish so you blasted out insidious anti-Semitic tropes to millions around the world slandering our people and you’re not a bigot?https://t.co/wtmqdBAkTg
— SimonWiesenthalCntr (@simonwiesenthal) July 29, 2020
Wiley was permanently banned from Twitter on July 29; Twitter apologized in a statement for not acting sooner.
“We deeply respect the concerns shared by the Jewish community and online safety advocates,” the social media platform said in a statement.
Facebook and Instagram also have banned Wiley.