Grime artist Wiley investigated by police amid anti-Semitic social media posts

Wiley performing in 2018. Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Police are investigating a series of social media posts from grime star Wiley, in which the musician allegedly made a number of anti-Semitic remarks and shared conspiracy theories.

Wiley, real name Richard Cowie, was given a seven-day ban from Twitter for the posts and dropped by his management company. Wiley also posted a video in which he said “crawl out from under your little rocks and defend your Jewish privilege”. In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: "We have received a number of reports relating to alleged anti-Semitic tweets posted on social media.

Wiley has received an MBE for services to music. Credit: PA

"The Met takes all reports of anti-Semitism extremely seriously. The relevant material is being assessed. "Anyone with further information can report it online or via 101 with reference 4219917/20."

Twitter and Instagram have been accused of “ignoring anti-semitism” because his tweets are still visible hours after they were first posted. Some of his posts have now been taken down.

His manager John Woolf said A-List Management had “cut all ties” with the musician following a series of social media posts made on accounts belonging to him on Friday.

The Campaign Against Antisemitism has asked police to investigate the content and called for Wiley’s accounts to be shut down “to prevent further outpouring of anti-Jewish venom”.

Mr Woolf, who is Jewish, wrote on Twitter on Saturday morning: “Following Wiley’s antisemitic tweets today we at @A_ListMGMT have cut all ties with him. There is no place in society for antisemitism.”

He had earlier said he did not support or condone what Wiley posted but that he would speak to him privately and “help educate him”.

One post on an unverified Twitter account in Wiley’s name, which Mr Woolf confirmed belongs to the star, read: “I would challenge the whole world of Jewish community on my own I am not scared I can handle them.”

The social media site has come under fire for allowing the tweets to remain visible.

Labour MP Jess Phillips said: “Just seen all the Wiley stuff. Why on earth have @Twitter left up such blatant antisemitism and hatred? It hits all the dangerous beats, Jews get things you don’t get, they are in control, they think their better… This is dangerous stuff. Surely it should come down.”

Fellow MP Neil Coyle added: “His management appear able to act quicker than @Twitter emphasising, once again, that legislation (including the Online Harms Bill) should ensure social media platforms are not used to spread hate.”

Independent adviser to the government on anti-Semitism, John Mann, said the tweets “demonstrated precisely why the law needs changing to hold them to reasonable account”.

We are treating this as a very serious matter which must be met with the firmest of responses

Campaign Against Antisemitism

This is not the first time the social media site has been accused of “allowing racism to run rampant”.

Last week it promoted a viral hashtag which contained numerous anti-Semitic tweets.

Several posts featuring anti-Jewish racism and Holocaust denial were presented to users looking at the hashtag #JewishPrivilege, which trended in the UK earlier in July.

Wiley, known as the Godfather of Grime and whose real name is Richard Cowie, received an MBE for services to music in 2018.

In a statement issued on Friday, a spokesperson for the Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Our Crime Unit has reported this matter to the Metropolitan Police Service as we consider that Wiley has committed the offence of incitement to racial hatred, which can carry a substantial prison sentence.

“We have additionally asked Twitter and Facebook, which owns Instagram, to close down his accounts which have hundreds of thousands of followers, to prevent further outpouring of anti-Jewish venom.”

They added that they would be contacting the Cabinet Office to ask that Wiley’s MBE is revoked.

The spokesperson said: “Wiley has many hundreds of thousands of followers on social media and we have seen today that many of them truly believe the unhinged hatred that he is spreading.

“We are treating this as a very serious matter which must be met with the firmest of responses.”