Sag-Aftra has condemned recent antisemitic comments made by Kanye West, saying that hate speech is “often a precursor to violence”.
The US union, which represents thousands of industry professionals, said the rapper’s remarks was not “harmless ranting” and had “real-world consequences”.
It comes after West, who has legally changed his name to Ye, gave a recent interview with US conspiracy theorist Alex Jones in which he praised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
SAG-AFTRA Condemns Antisemitic Statements by Ye https://t.co/cgxUqhbQ9x— SAG-AFTRA NEWS (@sagaftranews) December 9, 2022
The rapper’s Twitter account was also suspended for violating the platform’s policy against inciting violence, after he posted a series of erratic tweets, one of which appeared to show a symbol combining a swastika and a Jewish star.
“Sag-Aftra abhors and condemns the antisemitic statements being made by Ye, formerly known as Kanye West,” the organisation said in a statement on its website.
“The use of anti-Semitic imagery and tropes by high profile individuals on social media and elsewhere is not harmless ranting. It is ignorant, hateful and has real-world consequences.
“The tired debunked stereotypes peddled by Ye and others only serve to further divide us as a country and debase us as a society.
“Hate speech and the use of hate imagery is often a precursor to violence.
“The normalisation and mainstreaming of antisemitic and racist views has already resulted in a rise in violence against Jewish people and organisations in this country and elsewhere.”
Sag-Aftra said the viewpoints espoused by West were “unacceptable” and that it stood with the Jewish Community in fighting “hate speech and threats of violence from any source”.
“You need only look back less than a century to see evidence of what happens when antisemitic ideas are allowed to proliferate unchecked. We say, never again,” it said.
West’s previous antisemitic remarks have resulted in the termination of lucrative partnerships including with German sportswear brand Adidas.