Kanye West, legally known as “Ye,” is rapidly running out of social media platforms to post his antisemitic content. On Sunday, Twitter locked Ye’s account after he posted an antisemitic tweet saying he was going “death con 3” on Jewish people. In the same tweet, Ye added he “can’t be antisemitic because black people are actually Jew[s].”
Twitter confirmed to Gizmodo on Sunday that Ye’s account had been locked, and the antisemitic tweet removed, due to a violation of the platform’s policies. Twitter’s move comes one day after Instagram restricted Ye’s account for insinuating that the rapper Diddy, whose real name is Sean Combs, was being controlled by Jews. His words were condemned by Jewish advocacy groups, who warned that invoking antisemitic tropes like control are dangerous and foment hatred against Jews.
Notably, Twitter’s lockout of Ye stands in stark contrast to the warm welcome given to him by the platform’s potential future owner, Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Although Ye had not been active on Twitter since late 2020, he took to Twitter on Saturday to blast Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg for “kicking him off” Instagram. Meta confirmed to Gizmodo that Ye had not been kicked off of Instagram, but rather restricted, which means that he can’t post, comment, or send DMs, among others.
Since Ye returned to Twitter, he has tweeted a total of six times. Tweets included a picture of a black hat with “2024” written in white letters, a post decrying how Zuckerberg could have kicked him off Instagram, and a question to his followers stating: “Who do you think created cancel culture?”
The antisemitic tweet deleted by Twitter was screenshoted by several users and can be seen below. The full text reads:
“I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE,” he wrote, linking to a Forbes article over Musk welcoming him to Twitter. “The funny thing is I actually can’t be antisemitic because black people are also Jew [sic]. You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever [sic] opposes your agenda.”
According to Twitter’s guidelines on enforcement actions for rule breaking, users’ whose accounts are locked—officially known as “read-only mode”—can’t tweet, retweet, or like content. However, they can view their timelines and send DMs to their followers.
“If it seems like an otherwise healthy account is in the middle of an abusive episode, we might temporarily make their account read-only, limiting their ability to Tweet, Retweet, or Like content until calmer heads prevail,” Twitter notes in its help center. “When an account is in read-only mode, others will still be able to see and engage with the account.”
Users can be locked out of their account from between 12 hours to 7 days. Twitter did not respond to a question from Gizmodo on how long Ye’s lockout would last.
Ye’s restrictions on social media capped off a week of controversy and hateful behavior. The artist began forming this tidal wave at his Yeezy show at Paris Fashion Week, where he debuted his “White Lives Matter” T-Shirts. “White Lives Matter” is a white supremacist phrase that started being used in 2015 and is a racist response to the Black Lives Matter movement, according to the Anti-Defamation League.
The shirts were heavily criticized by fashion critics, with Vogue calling them “pure violence” and saying it was “hugely irresponsible” to debut and provide this type of clothing and ideas to the most dangerous extremists.
Diddy joined critics in their criticism of Ye’s T-Shirts, saying in an Instagram post that “Black Lives Matter” is not a joke and urging people not to buy the shirts. Later on, in a text message conversation with Ye, Diddy asked to meet with him in person to talk about the issue. The proposition didn’t go over well and ended with Ye insinuating that Jewish people were controlling Diddy.
“This ain’t a game. Ima use you as an example to show the Jewish people that told you to call me that no one can threaten or influence me,” Ye wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post featuring screenshots of his conversation with Diddy. “I told you this was war. Now gone get you some business.”
On top of Ye’s behavior on social media, he also spewed antisemitic comments in an interview with Tucker Carlson, where he accused former presidential advisor Jared Kushner, who is a Jew, of organizing the Abraham Accords “to make money.” Greed is another Jewish trope and has led to many stereotypes, such as those that state Jews are money-oriented or control the world’s finances.
Some people on social media have referenced that Ye’s behavior is due to his mental health issues. Ye was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016 and has often spoken about his illness. However, others have rightly pushed back and stated that mental illness is no excuse for antisemitism or bad behavior.
Kathryn Gordon, a clinical psychologist and author of The Suicidal Thoughts Workbook, told Gizmodo in an email that society often links awful behavior to mental health issues. This can be seen, for example, in movies and TV depictions. Yet, this tendency perpetuates harmful discrimination against people who struggle, the psychologist said.
“When someone exhibits behavior we don’t understand, the tendency can be to erroneously simplify a complex situation and say mental illness caused the behavior,” Gordon explained.
In the cases of bad behavior by people with mental illness, Gordon said that in general, “people should be held accountable for their bad behavior regardless of whether they have a mental illness or not.” Nonetheless, she stressed that there are always exceptions.
“I also generally think that people should have the opportunity to apologize and make amends for their bad behavior. Many of us consider mitigating factors for anyone who exhibits bad behavior, and for some people, those factors may be related to their mental health,” the psychologist stated.
All in all, how should we talk about a controversial situation involving someone who has disclosed that they have a mental illness? In this regard, Gordon referenced a 2017 study advising psychologists to exercise humility when rendering opinions on the mental health of public figures.
According to Gordon, this is a good general approach for people to take when discussing controversial situations.
“We can focus on the bad behaviors and issues without speculating about their mental illness,” the psychologist stated. “We can simultaneously discuss problematic behaviors while maintaining compassion toward people who struggle with mental illness.”
Update 10/9/2022, 6:07 p.m. ET: This post has been updated with additional comment from Gordon.
Update 10/10/2022, 6:11 p.m. ET: This post has been updated to clarify that Ye said he would go “death con 3" on Jewish people, not “DEFCON 3.”