The Voice newspaper must apologise for its disastrous interview with Wiley that failed to distinguish between reporting on antisemitism and enabling it.
In his interview, Wiley doubled down on his previous social media comments, describing Jews as rich exploiters and slavers, using classic antisemitic tropes and generalising about an entire ethnic group following an apparent dispute with his management team.
But rather than challenge Wiley’s views, the interviewer, Joel Campbell, suggested that there might be ‘salient’ points in Wiley’s racist ranting and seemed to affirm the idea that the Jewish community has a ‘stranglehold’ on the black community. The article also failed convincingly to dispute Wiley’s unfounded and antisemitic claims that Jews are rich exploiters and slavers.
The article’s commentary was also unacceptable. “There is no way to put this all in one nutshell but the hypothesis that you need to get a Jewish lawyer in order to progress in the music business may be a complete fallacy (I haven’t done the numbers, looking into the correlation in respect of who is and isn’t successful with or without one), but yet it remains,” Campbell wrote, adding: “I’ve never seen anyone Jewish refute or confirm this (maybe there was never a need felt to do so), but maybe, it’s a discussion that needs to be had?”
The notion that artists from the black community require a Jewish lawyer to advance is not “a discussion that needs to be had”. If anything, a discussion needs to be had about how The Voice could possibly have published such a disastrous article about such a sensitive topic. There is a difference between reporting on Wiley’s antisemitism and enabling and amplifying it. The Voice’s article was very much on the wrong side of that line.
Wiley had spent the last several days spewing antisemitic bile on social media before being locked out of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram following a global #NoSafeSpaceForJewHate campaign and mass 48-hour social media boycott. Wiley’s comments were condemned by the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, politicians from across parties, celebrities and many others.
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “In its interview with Wiley, The Voice newspaper repeatedly played down Wiley’s antisemitism, suggesting that there might be ‘salient points’ hidden within his racist ranting and seeming to affirm the idea that the Jewish community has a ‘stranglehold’ on the black community, not to mention failing convincingly to dispute Wiley’s unfounded and antisemitic claims that Jews are rich exploiters and slavers. There is a difference between reporting on racism and enabling it. The Voice was firmly on the wrong side of that line. It must apologise and explain how it managed to get such a sensitive topic so dreadfully wrong.
“Now that Wiley’s career as a performer is over and the social networks have finally stopped him from spewing hatred online, he must be stripped of his MBE and prosecuted. The message from the criminal justice system must be clear that those who incite racial hatred will face the full force of the law. Should the authorities fail to act, we stand ready to take our own legal action.”