Shortly after tweeting an image of a swastika inside the Star of David and hours after going on a pro-Hitler tirade, Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, was suspended from Twitter Friday. Twitter CEO Elon Musk confirmed as much early Friday morning, less than a few weeks after Twitter reversed an October restriction on his account that came in response to a separate antisemitic tweet.
Thursday’s tweet was deleted before West’s account page became inaccessible. Prior to West’s suspension, he also posted an unflattering image of Musk in a bathing suit, writing, “Let’s always remember this as my final tweet,” to which Musk responded, “That is fine. This is not,” referring to the swastika tweet. West then took his grievances to Truth Social, former President Donald Trump‘s social media platform, where he shared an apparent text-message exchange between him and Musk, per the Guardian. “Sorry, but you have gone too far. This is not love,” Musk wrote. “Who made you the judge,” West replied.
The spectacular downfall of one of the most influential rappers in the world is coinciding with another spectacle: Musk’s takeover of Twitter, which has forced the Tesla CEO—a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist”—to become a de facto moderator. To say that Musk has been resistant to this aspect of his new role is an understatement, given that he’s granted “general amnesty” to previously suspended accounts (including Trump); ended Twitter’s policy against COVID misinformation; and dismantled the company’s trust and safety teams amid mass layoffs. But West’s latest pro-Nazi antics were apparently beyond the pale for Musk, raising questions around how the Tesla CEO will crack down on antisemitism going forward.
West’s comments also underscore the ongoing confusion around Twitter’s new content moderation policies, such as those related to impersonation and hate speech. Many commentators have argued that Musk has failed to consistently enforce these policies, as seemingly evidenced by Thursday’s incident:
West’s suspension comes on the heels of his horrifyingly antisemitic outburst on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s InfoWars show, during which even Jones—who Friday morning filed for bankruptcy because he owes nearly $1.5 billion in damages caused by his lies about the Sandy Hook massacre—seemed uncomfortable with West’s comments. “There’s a lot of things that I love about Hitler,” West said during his appearance, claiming the Holocaust never happened. Also on Thursday, Parler, the right-wing social media platform, announced that West’s deal to acquire the company fell apart in mid-November. While the rapper’s antisemitic rhetoric has earned him scores of critics over the past several months, he was still greeted with a warm embrace in Mar-a-Lago last week, where the former president hosted West, as well as white supremacist Nick Fuentes, for dinner shortly after announcing his 2024 presidential bid.