Fans on Reddit have turned against Kanye West, transforming a subreddit dedicated to him into a page promoting Holocaust education within hours of Ye’s most recent antisemitic comments.
r/Kanye, a 700,000-member space on Reddit where fans once discussed Ye’s music, fashion and other endeavors, has been flooded with posts providing information about the persecution of Jews during the Holocaust and denouncing antisemitism.
The page offered a spontaneous show of support for Jewish Americans and a visual representation of pushback against West, who has legally changed his name to Ye, after weeks of his antisemitic remarks. It came after Ye on Thursday said he liked Adolf Hitler and later tweeted an image of a swastika.
“As a Jew and an early Kanye fan,” one commenter posted, “I never looked in this sub[reddit] until this morning and I saw all the holocaust remembrance posts. I’m in … tears right now. Thank you for standing up for us.”
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The posts include Holocaust-related photos and information intended to spread awareness about Nazi Germany’s persecution and killing of 6 million Jews. People are also posting educational book and movie recommendations, photos from visits to Holocaust memorial and museum sites, and photos they say are of family members who were persecuted under the Nazi regime.
“Photos I took when I visited Auschwitz. This is real. This is what happened to millions of innocent men, women and children as the result of unchecked dehumanizing rhetoric against them,” one person wrote, attaching photos of the site of the Nazi death camp. “Never again.”
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Sprinkled throughout those posts is another a symbol of fans’ disavowing of Ye: Memes praising Taylor Swift, who has been seen as a nemesis of Ye — and his fans — since he interrupted her 2009 MTV Video Music Awards acceptance speech. “Hey guys! Just getting into Taylor but don’t know where to start. Any suggestions?” wrote one person who posted a photo of Swift.
Some posts make it clear that even fans who maintained allegiance to Ye despite his repeated antisemitic remarks and erratic behavior have now decided to abandon him.
“I looked up to you. And now you ruined it all,” one commenter wrote. “Ashamed that you were once my favorite artist. Ashamed that I called you the GOAT. … I am done with you.”
The shift on the subreddit started Thursday, after Ye praised Hitler and Nazis in an interview with right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. It came a little more than a week after Ye dined with former president Donald Trump and white nationalist Nick Fuentes, an event for which some Republicans chastised Trump. Fuentes also appeared on Jones’s show with Ye.
Wearing a full mask, Ye told Jones he liked Hitler, then said, “I love Jewish people, but I also love Nazis.”
Thursday night, Ye tweeted a photo of a swastika combined with the Star of David. His Twitter account was suspended after the tweet. Both incidents drew wide condemnation from politicians, Jewish groups and others.
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The criticism included users on the subreddit, where on Thursday afternoon, one person posted, “This is now a Taylor Swift Subreddit. We had a good run fellas.” Hours later, after the swastika tweet, another user declared the thread “officially a holocaust awareness sub,” and Holocaust-related posts began pouring in.
Reddit users post anonymously. A message sent to the moderators of r/Kanye from The Washington Post was not returned. Information posted on Reddit, like elsewhere on social media, is not verified by fact-checkers.
Attempts to reach Ye were unsuccessful.
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Hate speech and antisemitism online can contribute to real-world violence, experts say, and the current political climate has increased fear among American Jews. An April review by the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that fights antisemitism, found that the United States saw a record number of antisemitic incidents in 2021, with an average of more than seven per day.
Pamela Nadell, director of American University’s Jewish Studies program, said she believes the United States is approaching a second “high tide of American antisemitism,” referencing the period between World War I and World War II that historians have generally termed the peak of antisemitism in the country.
That makes learning about the Holocaust and the Jewish experience with antisemitism “of great value” for all Americans, she told The Post.
“What has happened from October through the end of November … we have hit a point in American life where we now know that antisemitism is completely normalized,” she said, referring to Ye’s comments, his meeting with Trump and Fuentes and accusations of antisemitism that have also been recently leveled against basketball player Kyrie Irving. “There is certainly a rising sense of fear, justifiable fear. And I would say almost horror.”
Nadell recommended that people who want to learn more about the Holocaust start by looking at the website of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which includes an encyclopedia.
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Ye’s actions have drawn outrage for weeks, from his wearing of a “WHITE LIVES MATTER” T-shirt at his Paris Fashion Week show to an antisemitic rant and false information about the murder of George Floyd on the podcast “Drink Champs.” A leaked portion of an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News also elicited condemnation, as did an October tweet by Ye saying he would go “death con 3” on “JEWISH PEOPLE.”
Ye was dropped by Adidas, Gap, Balenciaga and other companies and has been intermittently suspended on Twitter. On Thursday, right-leaning social app Parler announced that a deal for Ye to buy the company had been canceled. A spokesperson said it was “mainly due to his recent and well-publicized business difficulties.”
While some Redditors on r/Kanye posted messages of gratitude for the Holocaust material, others questioned why it had taken some fans so long to denounce Ye. One person who identified themselves as a “Jewish former Ye fan” urged people to learn about Jewish culture beyond the Holocaust, saying, “Antisemitism is not a thing of the past. … We need your allyship!”
Another person asked for reading material and movie recommendations, saying, “Thanks to Kanye I’m gonna learn more about the history of the Holocaust.”
Even discussing Ye’s antisemitism presents a dilemma, because it creates more publicity for his harmful remarks, said Leonard Saxe, director of the Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies at Brandeis University.
“I don’t know whether this Reddit approach of posting lots of remembrances and information about the Holocaust will work, but it’s probably better than directly talking about him and how odious his views are,” Saxe told The Post.
“It’s a terrible situation, this moment in time when hate and distrust and other social forces seem to be stronger than ever, but educating people about the Holocaust is important,” he said, adding, “Turning the focus on the peoples whose lives [Hitler] destroyed and remembering them, that’s a good thing.”
Reddit users fill Kanye subreddit with Holocaust posts – The Washington Post