Kanye West Doesn’t Deserve His Platform

Sasha Plotniak, Staff Reporter

In the past month, Kanye West has ruined his legacy after making many antisemitic and racist claims. There has been a lot of controversy over whether or not West is to be blamed for his behavior, considering that he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Some people believe that Kanye’s behavior is excusable because it aligns with the symptoms of his mental illness, while others believe that there is no excuse for his prejudiced statements. I believe that while West’s bipolar disorder has some impact on his behavior, he still deserves to be held accountable as any other person would. 

The controversy began on October 3, 2022, when Kanye wore a “White Lives Matter” shirt to Paris Fashion Week. This phrase is used as a response to the Black Lives Matter Movement and has been labeled as hate speech by the Anti-Defamation League. It is also associated with white supremacists, including the Ku Klux Klan. Conservative activist Candace Owens was alongside Kanye wearing the same shirt. Many people were shocked and disappointed by West’s actions, especially people of color. 

West’s controversial behavior continued on October 6th during an interview with conservative television host Tucker Carlson. In unreleased footage, West made false claims about abortion rates among black people. He also made comments about how Planned Parenthood was founded to “control the Jewish population”. Throughout the whole interview, West made plenty of false and predjudiced claims regarding Jewish people and abortion.

Aside from his music, West is well known for his clothing line, Yeezy. This high-end fashion brand was created in partnership with Adidas, who owns the rights to the brand. On October 6th, Kanye publicly criticized Adidas, which led Adidas to announce that their partnership with Ye was under review. This was the beginning of companies that have begun to not tolerate West’s behavior.  

West proceeded to go on a social media rampage, which caused many of his accounts to be restricted on various platforms. On October 7th, his Instagram account was restricted after sharing a screenshot of a text message that encouraged the greed and power stereotypes amongst Jewish people. After that, on October 9th, he tweeted that he was going “death con 3 on jewish people”, a play on words of the military phrase “defcon”. Twitter locked his account soon after that tweet was published. 

West was also featured on other podcasts and interviews, including a now-deleted episode of “Drink Champs.” In the episode, West made the claim that George Floyd actually died from Fentanyl. Floyd’s family announced that they will be taking legal action against West for these remarks. After this, he participated in an interview with Chris Cuomo, where he defended his “death con 3” tweet, stating that it was about “Black musicians signed to Jewish record labels and those Jewish record labels take ownership,” a form of “modern-day slavery.” This statement continues to push the greed and power stereotypes against Jewish people. On  October 27th, West shared that he originally wanted to name his 2018 album after Adolf Hitler. Close sources to West confirmed that he had an obsession with the Nazi leader. 

On October 25th, Adidas officially dropped Yeezy from their company. Other brands followed suit, including Balenciaga, Vogue, Gap, and Footlocker. Apple Music also removed some of his playlists from the platform. This has caused West’s net worth to decrease drastically, going from 2 billion to 400 million.

While West’s mental illness is partially to blame for his actions, there is no excuse for such antisemitic behavior. If he cannot get the proper help to control himself, then there is no reason why he should be able to have a platform to make these horrific claims. Kanye West is an influence to many people, especially younger people. By constantly demonstrating hateful behavior, he is encouraging his audience to act the same. This harmful rhetoric will not help society progress in any way and will only move the world backward. In order to bring an end to hate speech, influential people must be held accountable for their own behavior. Kanye West should not continue to be featured in interviews where he can make false and prejudiced claims. He deserves to have his partnerships and brand deals ended so that his platform can become less influential. Hopefully, more people will stop supporting Kanye as they realize how harmful his behavior is.