Los Angeles and California officials are speaking out after a group of demonstrators hanged banners off a 405 freeway overpass, praising antisemitic comments made by entertainer Kanye West.
The banners read, “Honk if you know Kanye is right about the Jews,” referencing comments West made about the Jewish community during a “Drink Champs” podcast interview on October 16.
With their faces covered, the demonstrators could be seen performing the Sieg Heil salute made popular in 1940s Germany under Adolf Hitler’s rule.
Hate in America:
Yesterday, the head of an antisemitic and white supremacist group (and his supporters) dropped banners over the 405 in Los Angeles. One banner read, “Kanye is right about the Jews.” pic.twitter.com/FQBFIm0WLX
— Oren Segal (@orensegal) October 23, 2022
On Monday, Los Angeles officials such as Mayor Eric Garcetti, spoke out against the act and condemned antisemitism. “We condemn this weekend’s anti-Semitic incidents.
“Jewish Angelenos should always feel safe,” Garcetti, who has a Russian Jewish lineage, tweeted out Monday. “There is no place for discrimination or prejudice in Los Angeles. And we will never back down from the fight to expose and eliminate it.”
The California Legislative Jewish Caucus also spoke out about West and the demonstrators Monday, going as far as calling out Adidas for not addressing the comments made by West, who is one of their biggest collaborators.
“Any company-including Adidas-that continues to do business with Kanye West is party to this attack on Jews,” California Senator Scott Wiener And Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel wrote in a joint statement. “It is morally indefensible to turn a blind eye to antisemitism and to put profits over the safety of Jews in others targeted by hate.”
The push for Adidas to part ways with west comes after departures from GAP, Balenciaga, Vogue Magazine and most recently his talent agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA).
MRC Entertainment also announced it would no longer be working with West on a documentary, saying:
“This morning, after discussion with our filmmakers and distribution partners, we made the decision not to proceed with any distribution for our recently completed documentary about Kanye West. We cannot support any content that amplifies his platform.
“Kanye is a producer and sampler of music. Last week he sampled and remixed a classic tune that has charted for over 3000 years – the lie that Jews are evil and conspire to control the world for their own gain. This song was performed acapella in the time of the Pharaohs, Babylon and Rome, went acoustic with The Spanish Inquisition and Russia’s Pale of Settlement, and Hitler took the song electric. Kanye has now helped mainstream it in the modern era.
“Lies are an important part of all discrimination, and this one is no different. When well crafted, they create the illusion that the action is just, that the bigot is “punching up” at the victim. It’s critical to antisemites, who must explain why they are attacking a people that comprise less than half of one percent of the world’s population. Not a fair fight, numbers wise. But if the Jews are ultra-powerful because of secret evil plots, well, the argument is, it must be fair and OK.”
On Monday morning, antisemitic flyers were found distributed in around Beverly Hills homes and while it is not clear if they were in connection to either the demonstrators on the 405 freeway, the city’s Mayor Lili Bosse said in a tweet that she believed they were connected.
“Disgusting hate speech. Jew Hatred. Vile, evil disgusting smut hanging from an overpass on the 405 freeway,” Bosse said in the tweet. “Same horrible organization that littered our streets with hate propaganda flyers. As a daughter of an Auschwitz survivor, I will always bear witness and speak out.”
West, who legally changed his name to Ye in 2021, went on the hip-hop based “Drink Champs” podcast in a 3-hour episode that has since been taken down from all platforms and its hosts apologizing for not challenging West more during the interview.
On multiple occasions, Ye spoke on his conspiratorial views on “Zionist Jews,” who he said control the entertainment industry, as well as saying he was going to “reveal Jewish business secrets.”
He later went on Twitter, posting “I’m a little sleepy tonight, but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 on Jewish people.”
That would be one of his last tweets before being locked out of his Twitter account by the social media platform.
According to the Anti Defamation League (ADL), there were 2,717 antisemitic incidents reported in the U.S. in 2021, a 34% increase over 2020 and the most all-time.
“This is an outrageous effort to fan the flames of antisemitism gripping the nation,” ADL of Los Angeles Regional Director Jeffrey Abrams said in a statement Sunday. “This group, known for espousing antisemitism and white supremacist ideology, is now leveraging Ye’s antisemitism and is proof that hate breeds more hate.”
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