SAG-AFTRA believes in free speech, but not hate speech. On Friday, the union took the rare step of condemning one of its own members – Ye, formerly known as Kanye West – for making antisemitic statements.
“I like Hitler,” the Grammy-winning rapper said recently on a right-wing talk show, adding, “I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis.” He also tweeted in October that he would go “death con 3 on Jewish people.”
“SAG-AFTRA abhors and condemns the antisemitic statements being made by Ye, formerly known as Kanye West,” the guild said in a statement. “The use of antisemitic imagery and tropes by high-profile individuals on social media and elsewhere is not harmless ranting. It is ignorant, hateful and has real-world consequences. The tired debunked stereotypes peddled by Ye and others only serve to further divide us as a country and debase us as a society.
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“Hate speech and the use of hate imagery is often a precursor to violence. The normalization and mainstreaming of anti-Semitic and racist views has already resulted in a rise in violence against Jewish people and organizations in this country and elsewhere. Such viewpoints and statements are unacceptable by anyone and SAG-AFTRA stands with and supports the Jewish community in fighting against prejudice, hate speech, and threats of violence from any source.
“You need only look back less than a century to see evidence of what happens when antisemitic ideas are allowed to proliferate unchecked. We say, never again.”