Kanye West's downfall has been swift and brutal following his promotion of antisemitic views. 

When a billionaire music mogul chooses to push the “self-destruct” button on the empire he spent 20 years building, it’s impossible not to take notice. And to wonder why.   

Such is the story of Kanye West, who has been at the center of intense controversy over his public promotion of antisemitic views.

In a matter of several weeks, Kanye (who legally changed his name to “Ye” in 2021) has torpedoed his net worth to the tune of an estimated $1.6 billion after many business partners canceled his lucrative deals in protest. Fashion brand Balenciaga and shoemaker Adidas backed out of their agreements with him, an upcoming documentary was shelved, and several high-profile athletes left his agency, Donda Sports.  

This downward spiral has prompted Kanye’s friends, fellow celebrities, and even his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian, to issue public pleas calling for him to apologize and rethink his views. But so far, he hasn’t budged.

Neither is Kanye alone in this controversy. Other celebrities – like NBA star Kyrie Irving – have been under intense criticism for their involvement as well.

So, what’s going on? What are the roots of these beliefs? And why are people like Kanye and Kyrie willing to risk their careers and reputations by espousing them? This guide will attempt to get to the bottom of these questions and shed some light on the troubling controversy ripping across the sports and entertainment world.

Kanye’s Reputation Heads South

Kanye West is no stranger to controversy, and has made a bit of a habit of speaking his mind on touchy subjects. There was the infamous 2009 VMA awards show when he grabbed the mic from Taylor Swift mid-acceptance speech to say she didn’t deserve the award:

More recently, Kanye caught some serious flak for an interview in which he said, “slavery was a choice.”

But if those previous incidents were dust devils, this current one is an F5 tornado. It began with a tweet on October 8th, when Kanye said he was “going death con 3 on Jewish people.”

The public reaction was swift, and damning. His Twitter and Instagram accounts were restricted, and activists and fellow celebrities alike condemned the message. When Kanye refused to apologize, his music and fashion empire quickly came crashing down. He has even doubled down on these antisemitic remarks, blaming “Jewish business people” for his troubles.

It has since been reported that Kanye paid a settlement as part of a lawsuit involving numerous former employees who accused him of spreading antisemitic messages and praising Adolf Hitler as far back as 2018.  

Kyrie Irving Joins the Fray

Now here’s where things get interesting, because these are not simply the mad rantings of a once-revered icon. Joining Kanye in this most unappealing spotlight is star NBA point guard Kyrie Irving, who in recent weeks has also come under fire for promoting similar antisemitic beliefs.

This points to something deeper at play – an insidious web of conspiracies that have gained traction in certain circles.

Irving used his Twitter account to promote a movie and book titled “Hebrews to Negroes” that is full of antisemitic tropes. The nature of this content is disturbing, as ESPN writer Pablo Torre points out:

Like Kanye, when confronted about the damaging nature of his actions, Irving has also refused to apologize – drawing widespread condemnation from the sports media world, including former NBA greats Reggie Miller, Shaquille O’Neal, and Charles Barkley. 

Irving responded with a tweet saying that he "meant no disrespect to anyone's religious beliefs" and said the antisemitic label is "not justified."

Amid continued pressure, Irving, the Brooklyn Nets (his team), and the Anti-Defamation League also issued a joint statement announcing a $500,000 donation to charitable causes working to combat intolerance.

Notably, however, these statements have lacked a straightforward apology from Irving – a fact that was not lost on many critics, who continue to call for a more forceful response. It remains to be seen what, if any, discipline the NBA might hand down.

Searching for a Motive

Regardless of the outcome, it’s a shocking and head-scratching controversy. Following in the footsteps of a generational musical talent, it would seem a generational basketball talent is also willing to risk throwing his career away by promoting antisemitism.

This begs a few questions: what is the significance of these hateful messages? Where do they stem from? And why did an NBA star feel it was important to share such ideas with his millions of followers?

Understanding Irving’s role in this controversy – and the origins of the specific messages he and Kanye West are choosing to promote – requires turning the microscope on a group known as the Black Israelites.

Indeed, many of the talking points they are repeating can be traced back to this group.

Who Are the Black Israelites?

Also known as the Hebrew Israelites and Black Hebrews, among other variations, the Black Israelites are part of a relatively obscure and fractured religious movement.

Although different groups and chapters exist, each with their own specific ideologies, all are united by a common belief: that African Americans and other minority groups are the true descendants of the ancient Israelites.

As a result of this conviction, Black Israelites commonly view white Jewish people as imposters. This hate toward white Jewish people is reflected in the movement’s rhetoric, literature, and promotional materials – often coupled with citations from the Bible they say are evidence of their claims.

They preach that Black people have been “robbed of their identity as ‘God’s chosen people,’” and view white Jews’ economic successes in areas like business, media, and entertainment as unjust, unearned, and even “stolen” from the “rightful” Jews.

The Black Israelites have been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and are known to use homophobic and racial slurs during public demonstrations in which they demand their heritage be recognized.

As you might have guessed, the documentary that Kyrie Irving promoted was produced by members of the Black Israelites and featured many of the group's notorious antisemitic claims.     

Although Kanye West hasn’t quoted any of these materials directly, the rhetoric he has espoused is right in line with Black Israelite ideology – leading many to believe he has been similarly influenced.

Where Do Things Go From Here?

It’s certainly disturbing to see two cultural icons not just harbor, but publicly promote, hateful convictions about another ethnic group – particularly one as historically persecuted as the Jewish people.

Kanye West and Kyrie Irving have spoken their minds on the subject, and so far, have refused to apologize. Now they’re facing the consequences.

Whether they decide to change their ways (and the impact of their endorsing of antisemitic views) is yet to be seen. 

What is your reaction?

Update 11/4/22: The Brooklyn Nets suspended Kyrie Irving for a minimum of 5 games, citing his failure to properly apologize for the hurt he caused.

Last night, Irving posted a longer apology on his Instagram account, writing: “To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize,” Irving wrote. “I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the Documentary."

50 comments

  1. Laura McAllister's Avatar Laura McAllister

    Maybe if people stop buying his items just maybe he will stop and think about what he doing. If people stop acting like he is God,then maybe just maybe he’ll grow up.

    1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

      @Laura McAllister Highly unlikely. He's in an industry which is known for screwing the talent out of profits and for the most part it's been dominated by Jews. I suspect he found out he just get screwed again.

      1. Joe Stutler's Avatar Joe Stutler

        Credible citations needed.

        1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

          @ Joe Stutler Seriously you need creditable citations? You could start with Taylor Swift and her original record contract. It’s well known in the music business artists and bands get screwed by the record companies.

          As for blacks getting screwed by the record industry and the Jews who own or work for the record labels it’s even worse.

          https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/express_yourself/the-white-and-jewish-men-that-run-the-major-record-t13827.html

          If you need more try Googling Jewish record producers and record label owners. Then Google bands/recording artists who made very little money. There’s a very long list.

          1. Brent W Kauser's Avatar Brent W Kauser

            I wish I got screwed into having a 1.6 billion dollar empire at my disposal.

        2. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

          Credible citation needed???

          The Thomas Jefferson Bible (unlike the King James Bible) enables anyone to conclude, that if the Christian God “Jesus” was a Jew — ergo (logic dictates) so was his father (the head Christian God) and by influence, so is the Holy Ghost (a Jew).

          Which (logic dictates) means that everyone on Earth, can (using the Thomas Jefferson Bible — available from the Monastery bookstore) trace their ancestry back to the Jewish (now Christian) God.

          Which means that even Jews can be anti semantic— especially if they don’t believe in the Holy Ghost.

          Hopefully this clears the issue of credibility up, Minister Stutler.

          1. William Moses's Avatar William Moses

            You are inferring that because these entertainment executives are Jewish, that somehow causes them to take advantage of their clients. That’s a correlation, not a causation. In fact, it is a natural human characteristic, not a religion, to try and make the most money in any given situation. So whether these entertainment moguls were Jewish or not, does not affect their ability to take advantage of their clients. Greed is not a religion.

            1. Loren William Kinzel's Avatar Loren William Kinzel

              While I am not disagreeing with you, I'd like to point out that Jewish is not a religion either. It is a race. Hebrew is a religion.

              1. Rev. B's Avatar Rev. B

                Judaism is a religion. Hebrew is a language, and also is a label used to identify the Jewish people.

              2. Loren William Kinzel's Avatar Loren William Kinzel

                I stand corrected on the Hebrew language. My main point is that Jewish is not a religion. I am still struggling to figure if it is more ridiculous to hate a person for their race or their religion.

              3. Pastor George Day's Avatar Pastor George Day

                Loren William Kinzel, Jewish is a religion.

              4. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

                George, Judaism is the ethnic religion of the Jewish people.

                🦁❤️

              5. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

                Jewish is a race? Loren, you are a troll... And while your boy Kanye and you are at it, Hitler wanted blacks exterminated too, and for the same reason that he wanted Jews exterminated... He believed they were inferior people (Jews) and inferiour or subhuman (blacks) races.

      2. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

        Oh so another anti-Semite heard from I guess...

  1. Darrick Emanuel Adams's Avatar Darrick Emanuel Adams

    We need to be better listeners instead of horrible judges -- no one, and I mean NO ONE has "sincerely" apologized for the Transatlantic Slave Trade where dark skinned humans were trafficked across the seas to be sold in other continents such as america. Hatred can never be hidden, only illuminated by our failure to demand equal restitution for those whose Ancestors landed on the American shores only to be treated inhumane by being locked in chains like an animal,brutally beaten and hung from trees and bridges -- stacked in boats to be sold like property on auction blocks -- forced to pick cotton all day with little to no pay -- I ask you who claim to be of God, who is responsible for paying for this holocaust? Who is brave enough to take a stand like Jesus and confess this sin?

    Did it ever cross your mind to think that Kanye is just sick and tired of pretending that the Transatlantic Slave Trade never took place, and maybe the only way to get the world's attention, would be to do the most offensive act known to the non dark man? If "the tables were turned", do you think non dark people would then be Kanye?

    When we know better, we're expected to do better. Who is going to pay the dark families in America for the Nazi treatment they have received? Who killed Jesus?

    1. Stephen Mohlaloga Makgoathane's Avatar Stephen Mohlaloga Makgoathane

      If this slavery indeed was a choice, according to you my friend, my question to you Kanye is" Do you think there is any person/ anybody in his/ her normal mind will choose to be enslaved? STEPHEN MAKGOATHANE ( S.A)

    2. Ethan Allen Shelton's Avatar Ethan Allen Shelton

      Yes Transatlantic slave trade did exist and most of the ship captains and crew never even left the ship. That means someone brought the newly enslaved to them. It should also be noted there are still 94 countries with no anti slave laws. Chad, Mauritania, Niger, Mali, and Sudan, all African countries still actively engages in slavery.

      The west was the first to abolish slavery with the US leading the way

      1. Francwa Travis Sims's Avatar Francwa Travis Sims

        Great Britain abolished slavery in 1833 whereas the USA waited until 1865, nearly 32 years later!

    3. P. Keith Benefiel's Avatar P. Keith Benefiel

      The Italians.

      1. Pastor George Day's Avatar Pastor George Day

        P. Keith Benefiel, what about them?

    4. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

      Darrick Emanuel Adams nobody killed Jesus. He gave His life for us.

      1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

        Colleen, you have to be able to back up your claims when you make hard statements like the one you did.

        A better statement for you might be: “I have taken upon myself the belief that Jesus gave his life for us, even though I have no demonstrable evidence to support that view”.

        Thank you for your comment.

        🦁❤️

        1. Colleen McAllister's Avatar Colleen McAllister

          Lionheart Do not tell me what I should have said. I know what I said. I meant what I said. If you read and understood the Bible then you would also know that.

          1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

            Read it, understood it, and that’s why I don’t believe in it, Colleen.

            A woman being created from a man’s rib almost had me fooled. Reading about Unicorns, a god killing first born children, and approving of slavery, kinda sealed it for me.

            🦁❤️

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    There is no place in this world for antisemitism or any other hatred towards other cultures.Ye or Kanye needs to be sectioned for discrimination.We are all children of the Universe.

  1. Krystina S.'s Avatar Krystina S.

    Bigotry should be called out, no matter its guise. People who are racists against people of color and people who are bigots against those of minority faiths/ancestry/culture (because Judaism can be one or all of those) should always be called out. We should NOT let "stars" get away with this hateful and distorted rhetoric. They need to be called out and they need NOT to be able to financially profit or amplify this garbage using their huge media presence. Shame on them for their obsession with attention. Shame on those who give them a pass.

  1. Geoffrey C. Olive's Avatar Geoffrey C. Olive

    I’m quite willing to apologise for the slave trade as a dual nationality Brit/USA citizen. Great Britain abolished slavery in 1833 whereas the USA waited until 1865, nearly 32 years later! Jim Crow laws continued until the 1960s!

    1. Paul Edward Nunis's Avatar Paul Edward Nunis

      Pretended to abolish, whereas Americans died to abolish it. The British legally defined non-caucasians as non-people until the latter part of the 20th century.

    2. Paul Edward Nunis's Avatar Paul Edward Nunis

      Comment removed by user.

    3. Paul Edward Nunis's Avatar Paul Edward Nunis

      Comment removed by user.

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    Why should I care? I have more then enough to deal with without taking on this.

  1. Carol M. Anaski-Figurski's Avatar Carol M. Anaski-Figurski

    we are all the same when we knee down at the cross.

  1. Warren Calvin Wall's Avatar Warren Calvin Wall

    It's funny how 2 people can be ostracized for standing by their convictions and beliefs. It also shows the power of the Jews to cancel anyone that counters their beliefs. It all is thrown in the face of the 1st Amendment. I thought that this is a religious tolerance organization.

  1. Geoffrey C. Olive's Avatar Geoffrey C. Olive

    I find it very strange and hypocritical that people who have been major recipients of racism for a long time are now doing what they have accused others of doing!👎

    1. Paul Edward Nunis's Avatar Paul Edward Nunis

      With the added twist that the achievements in the Civil Rights strugglle were aided in no small part by activism on the part of Jewish people.

    2. Rev'd Andrew's Avatar Rev'd Andrew

      Are you referring to the apartheid policies of the Israelis against the Palestinians?

  1. Angela Guyton-Cyril's Avatar Angela Guyton-Cyril

    We are not the judges of people only God is, but we have decided to take that job for ourselves. To say that the Holocaust did not happen is to say that Lynchings did not happen. As a people we have suffered and we will continue to suffer because we have not yet learned to love ourselves or our fellow human. Think about that

  1. Mark Faulkner's Avatar Mark Faulkner

    Black Jews against White Jews; Jews against Palestinians; Christians against Muslims; Evangelicals against the world…which is mostly BIPOC

    The myriad forms of hate, racism, bigotry and self centrism showing itself like the light of 1000 suns within “Gods People” tells me one thing….. the Devil is in the details.

    1. Pastor George Day's Avatar Pastor George Day

      Mark Faulkner, Evangelicals are the good ones! :-)

    2. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      Mark it tells me that evolution perfuses all, and us against them tribalism to the death and paranoia is the primary evolutionary mechanism. So really they can't help it and I have no self-determination or ability to really understand what they're doing. Realizing the truth is on a higher order than they are capable of. As I said before, you have to consider the source with all of these people.

  1. Charles O'Connor's Avatar Charles O'Connor

    I am of irish descent. Many times I was called : LEPRECHAUN, MICK and NARROWBACK. I FEEL THAT SHOULD BE ANTI- CELTIC! It is about time the people Of the Jewish faith,move to the 21st Century. No other Nationality harps About it. Grow up and move on.

    1. Melvin Merle Glass's Avatar Melvin Merle Glass

      It was wrong for you to be called names because you were Irish. Imagine if 6 million Irish people were murdered because they were Irish. How quickly would you be to "Grow up and move on"?

      1. Pastor George Day's Avatar Pastor George Day

        Melvin Merle Glass, how about homosexuals and Jehovah's Witnesses?

      2. Rev'd Andrew's Avatar Rev'd Andrew

        Melvin, it seems you haven't learned of the Irish famine which, between 1845 and 1851 killed approximately 1 million people in Ireland and caused another million to emigrate, causing Ireland to lose 1/4 of its population. Irish immigrants received horrible treatment most places they went, and were considered to be second-class citizens at best. In antebellum Anglo-America, for example, Irish were depicted as apes and beasts, and this fed anti-Irish sentiment well into the twentieth century. None of this is to minimize the holocaust, or to claim that antisemitism doesn't exist, but rather to give some context: discrimination, dehumanization, and hate is not exclusively experienced by Jewish people. Most non-Anglos around the world have experienced all three.

  1. Vicki's Avatar Vicki

    Wow, I have a big problem when people talk about "Jews" or "Blacks" as though they were homogeneous groups that act with one voice. There are people of all races and religions who have done great things to advance justice and civilization, and there are also those of all races and religions who take advantage of others or profess hurtful ideas.

    1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      Vicky, all I can say is you have to consider the source.

  1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

    Angela (above) is correct. “Only God..can Judge” which means, because God and nature are one and the same thing — that only nature can judge us.

    And whenever humans think that they know more than nature— nature always is on the winning side.

    Nature always does whatever nature does — due to the fact of evolution— which is based on “might makes right” which is accurate— whether our particular tribe wins, or not.

  1. Shelly Johnson's Avatar Shelly Johnson

    Most of think he has mentsl issues. Stop supporting him. Don't listen to his stupid ideas and don't buy his product. He's a thug and he needs help.

    1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      Kanye, or yay, or whatever shuck and jive he's doing to get through everyday where, like Michael jackson, he doesn't know who he is and doesn't like people knowing who he is, is one righteous fool praising Hitler when Hitler wanted blacks exterminated for the same reason he wanted Jews exterminated. Duh.

  1. President Barconia's Avatar President Barconia

    I will not judge neither parties ! I’m not in either position in life nor do I no about what’s really going on at the top ! For sure they do ! I fear if it is something going on with a certain group of people that America fix it threw the blood of Jesus and bless all who have been slaved and mistreated in this cold cold world I pray for the both of them and the Jewish community to get threw this and restore our love and our confidence in our people love you all and pray

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