British Grime MC Wiley Stripped of MBE Following Antisemitic Rant, Action By CAA

British rapper Wiley MBE stripped following action by CAA
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British rapper Wiley MBE stripped following action by CAA
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Photo Credit: CAA

British grime MC Wiley has been stripped of his Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) honor four years after an antisemitic rant in 2020. Here’s the latest.

Known as the ‘Godfather of Grime,’ Richard Kylea Cowie performs under the name Wiley. He was awarded the MBE in 2017 for his contribution to the music scene, but in 2020 he took to social media to spew hate against Jewish people—taking a page out of Kanye’s book. Wiley posted so many hateful comments that both Twitter and Facebook took action against his accounts, banning him from the platforms.

The posts included comparisons calling Jewish people ‘snakes’ and likening them to the terrorist organization, the Ku Klux Klan. The rant caused a rift between Wiley and his then-manager John Woolf, who is Jewish. “I do not support or condone what Wiley has said today online in any way, shape, or form,” Woolf told the media. “I am a proud Jewish man and I am deeply shocked and saddened by what he has chosen to say. This behavior and hateful speech is not acceptable to me.”

He was asked to retract the tweets and refused to do so, which led to action from the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) who sought the revocation of his MBE. Wiley later apologized for ‘generalizing’ about Jewish people on a Sky News segment, saying his comments should not have been directed at all people. Instead, he said the comments should have been kept “between me and my manager.”

CAA at the time said, “Our crime unit has reported this matter to the Metropolitan Police Service as we consider that Wiley has committed the offense of incitement to racial hatred, which can carry a substantial prison sentence. Our regulatory enforcement unit is contacting the Honours Forfeiture Committee at the Cabinet Office to ask that Wiley’s MBE be revoked, and we will be looking to ensure that no reputable label or manager works with him again.”

The Cabinet Office confirmed Wiley’s MBE was under review in August 2020. After more than four years, the Cabinet Office finally took action and stripped Wiley’s MBE for “bringing the honours system into disrepute.”

CAA praised the action, with Director of Investigations Stephen Silverman commenting, “Anti-Semites like Wiley must understand that we will work tirelessly to hold them to account. For four years, we have worked to ensure that Wiley faces ruinous consequences for his unhinged anti-Semitic tirade, for which he has shown no remorse. Today’s decision is a vindication of that effort.”