When I started writing this piece, it was initially supposed to be an impartial reporting of the events that have took place since Wiley’s Antisemitic tweets, but as I conducted my research on the consequences Wiley has faced in comparison to others who’ve said things like “The problem is Islam, a form of mental illness, and Pakistan, a violent inbred sub-IQ shithole”, I quickly realised…fuck that.
This isn’t the time to be politically correct. As always, the media finds ways to redirect attention away from the systemic problems within it. I will attempt to redirect our focus by laying out some facts and I will not sugarcoat what these facts implicate. Here we go.
Wiley has been dropped by his management, banned from Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and most recently YouTube. His MBE is also currently under review and could very well be stripped from him. The condemning of Wiley has basically been unanimous and rightly so.
This is after Wiley tweeted a barrage of anti-Semitic comments that were undoubtedly wrong and categorically offensive to the Jewish community. Now that we’ve agreed on that, let’s address the issue that’s very much still looming large.
Wiley isn’t the first person with a platform to tweet highly offensive and grossly generalised comments about groups. Shock, right? Let’s take a look at other tweets and the actions that followed those.
Richard Spencer, the American Alt-right leader, said this after the 2017 Quebec City attack on the Islamic Culture Center that left six dead. His punishment? Nothing. He did lose his Twitter verification 9 months after this. 9 months.
There are countless tweets and incidents that involve Tommy Robinson and hate speech. I mean his reputation has basically been made from it. Tommy Robinson did eventually get banned from Facebook but only after ‘repeatedly’ flouting rules designed to prevent ‘organised hate’ on the site. He enjoyed years of uncensored hate speech that was defended for being ‘free speech’ before finally getting banned from twitter in 2018.
Then, in 2019, Tommy Robinson was banned from Facebook and Instagram but only after ‘repeatedly’ flouting rules designed to prevent ‘organised hate’ on the site. ‘Tommy Robinson’s Facebook Page has repeatedly broken these standards, posting material that uses dehumanizing language and calls for violence targeted at Muslims,’ it said. So Tommy Robinson lasted on Twitter for over 5 years and it took Facebook and Instagram another year to follow suit with a permanent suspension. Why?
Again, Katie Hopkins, like Tommy Robinson, has had a long history of tweets like this. This tweet is from 2014 and when do you think she was permanently banned from Twitter? 2020. That’s 6 years of hate speech that was left unchecked and certainly wasn’t condemned in the same way Wiley has been.
The truth is that I could cite hundreds of tweets like this that didn’t receive the same consequences Wiley has. Just recently, Tory MP, Craig Whittaker, blamed BAME and Muslims for the recent rise in coronavirus cases. After some backlash, he went on to defend his comments and has yet to face any punishment. Is it because he is white? Perhaps, it’s his position in the government. Or is it because he spoke of the Muslim community?
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as “Wiley is being punished like this because he’s Black” or that “Wiley was cancelled because he said something about the Jewish community”. It’s much more complex and insidious then this. There are lots of factors at play that may very well include the two aforementioned points. There is a systemic problem within the media and media coverage and the solution isn’t obvious to me. Is it more BAME in the highest positions? Is it stronger petitions against the systemic issues? I’m not sure, but what I do know is, it is not okay.
I’ll leave you with an analogy. Imagine, you’re watching your favourite sports team play in an important game. The stakes are high. All decisions and incidents will have serious and important implications. During the game, a player from your team makes a rash tackle, you can see it’s rash but you’re hoping that he can get away with a warning. He was going for the ball after all. The referee reaches into his pockets and pulls out a red card. Devastation, but you’re not surprised. Although his intentions may have been to get the ball, he didn’t. You blame your player for putting himself in that position. Minutes later, a player from the opposition commits an almost identical foul, you jump out of your seat and demand the same justice, but this time, the card that’s shown is a yellow card. You explode with wrath and confusion at the decision, but why? What has left you so enraged? It’s simple, it’s the hypocrisy, the inconsistency… the inequality.