Wiley Stripped of MBE After Antisemitic Outburst

Music

Wiley Stripped of MBE After Antisemitic Outburst

In the summer of 2020, a little more than two years after being honored by the British government, the grime pioneer made a number of hateful remarks online

Wiley

Richard Kylea Cowie Jr. aka Wiley, July 2018 (Tabatha Fireman/Getty Images)

British grime pioneer Wiley has been stripped of his MBE for “bringing the honours system into disrepute,” BBC News reports. The decision from the Honours Forfeiture Committee comes nearly four years after the musician made numerous antisemitic statements online. Wiley was appointed to be a member of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2017.

Immediately following Wiley’s outburst, the Campaign Against Antisemitism called for the revocation of the musician’s MBE. In a new statement, a spokesperson for the British organization said:

Today’s decision marks the culmination of nearly four years of dogged perseverance. We have worked tirelessly to ensure that Wiley faces ruinous consequences for his unhinged antisemitic tirade, for which he has shown no remorse.

Antisemitism has no place in the arts, and is unbecoming of anyone holding an honour. We commend the Honours Forfeiture Committee for using its powers to hold Wiley to account. In doing so, it is declaring that anti-Jewish racists cannot be role models in our society.

Due to technical reasons, including legal action that we are pursuing against Wiley, the forfeiture was delayed. We are grateful to the Honours Forfeiture Committee for its work on this matter.

In the summer of 2020, Wiley posted several hateful remarks on Twitter (the social media platform now known as X). He called Jewish people “cowards” and “snakes” and compared the Jewish community to the Ku Klux Klan. Due to his comments, the musician was suspended from Twitter and Instagram, and his manager, John Woolf, dropped him as a client. “I do not support or condone what Wiley has said today online in any way shape or form,” Woolf explained.

Shortly after his Twitter comments, Wiley told Sky News, “I just want to apologise for generalising and going outside of the people who I was talking to within the workspace and workplace I work in.” He added, “My comments should not have been directed to all Jews or Jewish people. I want to apologise for generalising, and I want to apologise for comments that were looked at as antisemitic.” Nevertheless, Wiley returned to social media the following year to share more antisemitic sentiments.

In 2021, Wiley was charged with burglary and assault for allegedly breaking into the home of and attacking ex-kickboxer Ali Jacko.

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