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US rap star Kanye West apologizes for anti-Semitism

Kanye West has been kicked off Twitter for incitement to violence
Kanye West has been kicked off Twitter for incitement to violence - Copyright AFP/File Ivan Pisarenko
Kanye West has been kicked off Twitter for incitement to violence - Copyright AFP/File Ivan Pisarenko

US rapper Kanye West apologized to the Jewish community Tuesday, after a series of anti-Semitic comments that sparked outrage and led to the star being dropped from lucrative commercial deals and banned from social media.

The reason for the timing of the mea culpa was unclear — West’s most high profile outbursts came more than a year ago — although his next album, “Vultures,” is due out in two weeks.

“I sincerely apologize to the Jewish community for any unintended outburst caused by my words or actions. It was not my intention to hurt or disrespect, and I deeply regret any pain I may have caused,” he said in a statement written in Hebrew on his Instagram page.

“I am committed to starting with myself and learning from this experience to ensure greater sensitivity and understanding in the future.”

Several of the comments below the statement complained that it was written in Hebrew, which comparatively few people can read.

West, who now goes professionally by Ye, has shocked and alarmed fans with a series of threats against Jewish people that drove sportswear giant Adidas and other fashion houses to dump him, and saw him locked out of most social media platforms.

The 46-year-old one-time titan of fashion and music has made declarations of “love” for Nazis and voiced his admiration for Adolf Hitler.

West posted an image to social media site X in 2022 that appeared to show a swastika interlaced with a Star of David, and was suspended by the platform’s owner Elon Musk, who accused the artist of “incitement to violence.”

The “Gold Digger” rapper said in March that he was renouncing anti-Semitism after watching actor Jonah Hill in the film “21 Jump Street” — in a performance that made him “like Jewish people again.”

West’s apology comes at a time of rising concern in the United States over a normalization of anti-Semitic discourse — increasingly co-opted by a white supremacist fringe that was emboldened under the presidency of Donald Trump.

The chart-topper took part in an unhinged interview last year with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes, in which he ranted about the devil, professed his “love” of the Nazis and declared “I like Hitler.”

The Anti-Defamation League welcomed Tuesday’s apology but noted that West had caused “untold damage” by using his vast influence to “poison countless minds with vicious antisemitism and hate.” 

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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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