Kanye West Has Fueled a Flurry of Antisemitic Hate on College Campuses
Since concluding his antisemitic, pro-Hitler hate spree late last year, Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, has notably receded from public view. But support for his white supremacist rhetoric has continued to reverberate across the country, particularly on college campuses, where students have witnessed banner drops, vandalism, campus flyers and even targeted harassment, according to a new report from the Anti-Defamation League. The Jewish civil rights group compiled at least 25 antisemitic incidents referencing Ye, some of which span as far back as October, when the celebrity first threatened to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE.”
According to the report, two far-right activists—Tyler Russell and Dalton Clodfelter—have reportedly launched a campus ”road trip” tour in recent weeks, bandying the slogan ”Ye is right” as a way of endorsing the rapper’s antisemitic views. Last month, the pair set up a table at Florida Atlantic University, where they unfurled a banner that read “#YeIsRight. Change my mind,” according to The Palm Beach Post. They then asked student passersby whether they “love Hitler,” spouted conspiracy theories about the Holocaust, and endorsed Ye’s 2024 presidential bid––a campaign the rapper launched with the aid of an outspoken Holocaust denier. Russell and Clodfelter, who film their arguments with students and post them online, hosted a similar event at Florida State University and a message promoting their tour was found chalked onto a University of Alabama sidewalk.
The duo isn’t the first to promote Ye’s antisemitism across university grounds. On October 11, days after Ye’s “death con 3” tweet and nearly two months before he praised Hitler on Infowars, the words “Kanye was right” and “Defcon III” were found scrawled on a University of Wisconsin-La Crosse sidewalk. Two weeks later, phrases like “Kanye West is right” and “Kill All Jews” were likewise etched onto the bathroom wall of a Newport Beach, California high school alongside three swastikas, according to the ADL. In the ensuing weeks, the report noted, a Jewish community center in New York and a Jewish cemetery in Illinois were also vandalized with variations of “Kanye is right.”
Meanwhile, several Jewish-owned businesses, Holocaust centers, and synagogues have been subject to harassment from Ye supporters. In November, an anonymous caller phoned a Jewish-owned restaurant in Los Angeles asking for “the Kanye special” while proclaiming “Death to all the Jews,” per the ADL. And on December 2, one day after Ye told Alex Jones “I like Hitler,” the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh reportedly received a call from someone who identified themselves as “Kanye West” and stated, “I hate all Jewish people. All of them must burn and die. I love Hitler. I love Hitler.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the ADL, said in a statement to Vanity Fair that Ye’s antisemitism is “inspiring people to commit real-world acts of hate,” adding that “celebrities and others who engage in spreading hateful tropes need to know their words have consequences.”
The “Kanye is right” slogan first rose to prominence in October, when the Goyim Defense League, a white extremist group, dropped a banner with the slogan above a Southern California overpass. Later that month, the phrase “Kanye is right about the Jews” was projected onto a building above a Jacksonville, Florida football stadium during a game attended by tens of thousands of fans.
However, even before Ye’s outbursts, antisemitism had been on the rise in the US for some time. The ADL recorded more antisemitic incidents in 2021 than in any other year since it first began tracking harassment, vandalism, and violence in 1979. Recent years have also seen a spike in notable white supremacist organizing and violence, including the Tree of Life synagogue shooting in 2018, where 11 worshippers were allegedly killed by an antisemitic conspiracy theorist.