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Wiley apology for tweets ‘that looked anti-Semitic’ after Twitter ban – BBC News

Wiley performs on the main stage on Day 1 of Wireless Festival at Finsbury Park on July 6, 2src18 in London, England

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Grime artist Wiley has apologised for “generalising” about Jewish people after being banned from social media.

In an interview with Sky News, the artist insisted: “I’m not racist.”

“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 anti-Semitic.”

Twitter had earlier banned his account permanently after a public backlash over a perceived lack of action.

“We are sorry we did not move faster,” Twitter said in a statement.

Sky News reported that the offensive tweets were sparked by a falling-out between the rapper and his former manager, who is Jewish. The pair cut ties in recent days.

“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,” Wiley said.

“I’m not racist, you know. I’m a businessman. My thing should have stayed between me and my manager, I get that.”

However, the artist appeared in the interview to refuse to distance himself from most of the anti-Semitic comments he posted on social media.

Wiley’s series of anti-Semitic tweets appeared on Friday night.

One tweet read: “I don’t care about Hitler, I care about black people”, and compared the Jewish community to the Ku Klux Klan.

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Media captionRapper Wiley’s Twitter account has been suspended after anti-Semitic posts

Twitter did not immediately respond, prompting a public outcry and a 48-hour boycott of Twitter by many users over what they said had been an unacceptable delay.

The social network eventually banned Wiley for violating its “hateful conduct” policy – a day after Facebook and Instagram had deleted the music star’s accounts for “repeated violations” of their rules.

Twitter said it had decided to make an earlier temporary ban permanent, and wipe all his past posts from its platform, “upon further consideration”.

“We deeply respect the concerns shared by the Jewish community and online safety advocates,” the statement said, promising to continue to tackle anti-Semitism.

The star, known as the “godfather of grime”, was awarded an MBE for services to music in 2018.

He told Sky News he would hand back the honour following calls for him to be stripped of it, saying he had “never wanted it”.

“I never felt comfortable going to get it. Just look at Britain’s colonialism history,” he said.

When asked what he would like to say to his fans, he responded angrily saying fans were fickle and, at 41, he was no longer “current” and was at the end of his career.

Analysis

By Marianna Spring, specialist disinformation and social media reporter

The permanent suspension of the rapper’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles has been widely welcomed.

However, it is emblematic of a slowness to act on hateful abuse from social media sites. And many are asking why this took so long.

Time and time again, decisive action from social media sites over racist abuse, misinformation or hate speech has come only once comments have reached thousands of users.

What does it take for Twitter to act decisively on anti-Semitic abuse?

In this case it appears to be external pressure – the move comes after a boycott by users.

And it also seems to be dependent on what the other social media sites choose to do: Facebook moved to suspend Wiley’s accounts on Tuesday, and then Twitter appeared to follow suit.

With the Stop Hate for Profit campaign ramping up pressure, and increased focus on the way social media sites tackle hate speech and misinformation, the spotlight will intensify on the actions of Twitter, Facebook and Google in these scenarios.

The delay in Twitter taking action prompted the 48-hour boycott of Twitter by many users – including celebrities and MPs – beginning on Monday morning. Organisers said the time reflected the “48 hours of pure race hate” they accuse Twitter of giving to Wiley.

On Tuesday, Facebook issued a ban after Wiley was discovered posting abusive material on his personal page using his real name, Richard Cowie.

Twitter followed suit on Wednesday, after what it said was a thorough investigation.

Despite the move, the Board of Deputies of British Jews said both Twitter and Facebook had been slow to act, adding “it is just not good enough”.

“Social media companies have not been strong or fast enough about tackling racism, misogyny or homophobia,” it said in a statement.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism echoed that sentiment, writing that Twitter “has finally listened”.

“The closure of Wiley’s account is too little too late, but it is at least a start for this deeply irresponsible social network,” it said.

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Lea Michele’s apology backfires as more ‘Glee’ actors talk – Los Angeles Times

The drama surrounding “Glee” alum Lea Michele has somehow gotten messier.

On Wednesday, multiple members of the original “Glee” cast, along with a producer for the TV series, shared their thoughts on the controversy as Michele’s apology sparked another backlash. Earlier this week, actress Samantha Marie Ware accused Michele of subjecting her to verbal abuse and “other traumatic microaggressions” on the set of the high-school musical.

“Glee” star Amber Riley directly addressed the situation Wednesday for the “first and last time” during an Instagram Live interview with Essence’s Danielle Young. The singer and actress commented on the recent allegations brought against Michele by Ware, who claimed Michele made her experience on set “a living hell.”

“I’m very proud of her for standing up for herself. I’m very proud of Samantha,” Riley said, adding that she recently spoke with Ware on FaceTime. “I am not going to say that Lea Michele’s racist. That’s not what I’m saying. That was the assumption because of what’s going on right now in the world and it happened toward a black person. I’m not going to say that she’s racist. She’s also pregnant, and … we’re classy around here.”

Lea Michele, left, Jenna Ushkowitz, Amber Riley, Heather Morris, Dianna Agron and Naya Rivera in an episode of “Glee.”

(Michael Yarish / Fox)

On Wednesday morning, Michele apologized for her past behavior, lamenting how it was “perceived” by her colleagues. Though she and Michele have spoken privately, Riley has not read her apology and does not intend to.

Right now, she’d rather focus on “defunding the police, prosecuting killer cops” and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I don’t give a s— about this Lea Michele thing,” she continued. “I don’t want to be asked about it. … People are out here, dying, being murdered by police. Trans women are being murdered at the hands of men.

“I wish Lea Michele well. I hope she has an amazing pregnancy. I hope that she has grown … I have no hatred or ill will on that end. I want to make that very clear, that my life and what I talk about is not going to be about that. I will shut it down immediately.”

On Twitter, actress Heather Morris also weighed in on the accusations leveled against Michele. Morris played spacey cheerleader Brittany alongside Riley’s vocal powerhouse, Mercedes Jones, on “Glee.”

“Hate is a disease in America that we are trying to cure, so I would never wish for hate to be spread to anyone else,” Morris wrote in a statement. “With that said, was she unpleasant to work with? Very much so; for Lea to treat others with the disrespect that she did for as long as she did, I believe she SHOULD be called out.

“It’s also on us because to allow it to go on for so long without speaking out is something else we’re learning along with the rest of society. But, at the current moment, [it’s] implied that she is a racist, and although I cannot comment on her beliefs, I think we’re assuming, and we know what happens when we all assume…”

Ware, who played show choir member Jane Hayward in the musical series’ final season, appeared to mock Michele’s apology Wednesday on Twitter. Many have criticized Michele for softening her statement by using the word “perceived” to describe her actions and not naming Ware specifically.

“Whether it was my privileged position and perspective that caused me to be perceived as insensitive or inappropriate at times or whether it was just my immaturity and me just being unnecessarily difficult, I apologize for my behavior and for any pain which I have caused,” Michele wrote in her apology.

“Perceived?” Ware later echoed on Twitter, encouraging her followers to donate to a memorial fund for 22-year-old protester James Scurlock, who recently was fatally shot after police say he tussled with the owner of two bars in Omaha. “Open your purse??????????????”

Others who have remarked on Michele’s reputation are “Glee” actor Alex Newell, who backed Ware up immediately after she spoke out Monday, and “Glee” producer Marti Noxon, who argued in since-deleted tweets that the men on the show deserved to be called out too.

“I’m all for calling out bad behavior and even for some schadenfreude when that behavior is punished,” Noxon tweeted, according to screenshots obtained by People magazine. “That said, on GLEE there were LOTS of bad actors. Who were NOT women. People in the industry know who I’m talking about. Why aren’t we calling them out?”

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