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Twitter and Instagram remove antisemitic posts by Kanye West

Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, tweeted for the first time since 2020 and stirred plenty of controversy. (Saul Loeb/Getty Images)
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Twitter confirmed Sunday that it had removed a tweet by Ye, the musician and fashion designer formerly known as Kanye West, and temporarily prohibited him from further posts on the platform, as the fallout from his recent antisemitic comments on social media continued.

His account, @kanyewest, was “locked for violating Twitter’s policies,” a Twitter spokesperson said in an email Sunday, declining to state which policy he had violated. The account shows that a recent tweet violated Twitter rules.

Though the tweet is no longer visible on his account, screenshots shared widely on social media show that Ye had said he would go “death con 3” on “JEWISH PEOPLE,” an apparent reference to Defcon, the U.S. military defense readiness system. In the tweet, he used antisemitic tropes and said he could not be antisemitic “because black people are actually Jew also.”

The action by Twitter comes after Instagram removed a post from his account and similarly locked his account temporarily. A spokesperson for Meta, the parent company of Instagram formerly known as Facebook, said in an email that the platform “deleted content from @kanyewest for violating our policies and placed a restriction on the account. We may place restrictions on accounts that repeatedly break our rules, for example, we may temporarily restrict them from posting, commenting, or sending DMs.” Screenshots of the post show that Ye had posted an apparent conversation with the rapper Diddy, employing antisemitic tropes to allege that he was being influenced by Jewish people.

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After Ye was restricted by Instagram, he took to Twitter, in a tweet still visible on the platform, to criticize Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta, writing: “Look at this Mark. How you gone kick me off instagram,” along with a photo of the two together in a group.

The Saturday posts came shortly after Ye tweeted a photo of a baseball cap labeled with “2024,” an apparent reference to the 2024 presidential election. The tweets were his first since 2020, when he had tweeted, “KANYE 2024.”

His social media posts have also garnered attention from political and societal figures, with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) admonishing him in a tweet late Sunday, writing: “There is absolutely no room in this country or world for antisemitism. It is important to see how harmful + dangerous Kanye’s words are — not only to our Jewish brothers, sisters, & siblings, but also to our collective society at large. We must reject this … wherever we see it. ”

Some on the right have come to defend Ye in recent days. Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX who has been engaged in a legal battle over his reneged offer, and subsequent reversal, to buy Twitter, responded to his tweet about Zuckerberg, writing: “Welcome back to Twitter, my friend!”

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Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita (R) tweeted a link to an MSNBC blog post about Ye’s recent controversies, criticizing “the media,” which he said had “gone after Kanye for his new fashion line, his independent thinking & for having opposing thoughts from the norm of Hollywood.” Rokita followed up by saying that his post “was specifically and clearly aimed at the hypocrisy of the media and Hollywood elites, not anything to do with other comments. I have an obvious, clear and substantial Congressional and public record of being 100% supportive of the Jewish community and Israel.”

The blog post centered on widespread backlash to Ye’s display at the recent Paris Fashion Week of a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “WHITE LIVES MATTER.” The phrase, a response to the Black Lives Matter movement, has ties to neo-Nazi and white-supremacist groups, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The shirt led Adidas, which has collaborated with Ye on shoe and clothing lines, to reevaluate its partnership with him. Adidas said in a statement to various news outlets that “after repeated efforts to privately resolve the situation, we have taken the decision to place the partnership under review.” Representatives for Ye could not be reached for comment Sunday evening.

The controversies have reignited discussions over Ye’s documented struggles with bipolar disorder and, in turn, the limits of what can be explained by mental illness. “Please don’t let Kanye’s behavior mischaracterize bipolar disorder as something that inherently makes us act out so terribly,” Cameron Kasky, a gun-control advocate who has spoken publicly about having bipolar disorder, said on Twitter. “There are ups and downs, but bipolar disorder doesn’t restructure your fundamental values” into something harmful, he said.