LONDON – One Direction star Niall Horan, singer Lily Allen and pop group The 1975 were among hundreds of well-known names in the UK music scene to unite against “all forms of racism” after the anti-Semitic tirade of a rapper.
Rita Ora, Lewis Capaldi and Little Mix were joined by big UK labels like Universal Music, Warner Music and Sony Music and a number of other industry figures to endorse an open letter titled “#NoSilenceInMusic” on Saturday.
“All forms of racism have the same roots – ignorance, lack of education and the scapegoat,” the letter said.
Whether it is the systemic racism and racial inequality evidenced by continued police brutality in America or the anti-Jewish racism promulgated by online attacks, the result is the same: suspicion, hatred and division. “, he added.
The letter was released after famous British rapper Wiley was banned from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram after posting a series of anti-Semitic and racist rants last week.
Wiley, real name Richard Cowie, compared Jews to the Ku Klux Klan and claimed that Jews systematically exploited black artists in the music industry.
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The posts prompted celebrities, politicians and other high-profile Britons to join a 48-hour Twitter ‘strike’ to protest what they said was an inadequate response to a rapper’s anti-Semitic tweets .
They also reignited the nation’s debate over racism, which developed following a series of protests after George Floyd died under the knee of a Minnesota police officer. One, in June, saw the overturning of a statue of a slave trader.
The posts also prompted questions about the ability of social media platforms to tackle hate speech.
After initially deleting some of his posts, Wiley, 41, was permanently banned from Twitter five days after uploading his comments last Wednesday, a day after being deleted by Facebook and Instagram.
Twitter then apologized for the time it took to respond, but only after being criticized by a spokesman for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who said: ‘Social media companies need to go much further and faster by removing hateful content like this. ”
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel also asked why the rapper’s posts have been sticking around for so long.
Wiley, nicknamed “the godfather of filth”, later insisted he was “not racist” in an interview with UK Sky News.
He said his disagreement was with his Jewish manager and that he would return the UK government honor bestowed upon him for his contribution to music in 2018.
“My comments should not have been addressed to all Jews or to all Jews. I want to apologize for generalizing, and I want to apologize for the comments that were considered anti-Semitic, ”he said.
However, he subsequently appeared to back down, telling the interviewer, “This is systemic racism on their side” and “the system and… a community of Jewish lawyers” angered him.
Wiley was also dumped by his management company and faces a police investigation into the tweets.
Its former director, John Woolf, confirmed in a statement that his company had “cut all ties” with the artist, adding: “There is no room in society for anti-Semitism.”