These artist’s actions are not mistakes that deserve forgiveness


This letter was submitted in response to 2 sides, 1 issue: Do fans support the art or the artist?

As a Jewish student at SPA, I was disheartened by this article. Kanye West did not simply “make a mistake,” instead he tweeted to his millions of followers a picture of a Swastika, that Jewish people control the media (a racist trope), and that he wants to go “Defcon 3” on all Jewish people. Additionally, he said he “loves Hitler” on the Infowars podcast.

Hitler committed genocide against my ancestors. Six million Jews died in the Holocaust. My grandpa spent his childhood living in a cave in Romania, hiding from the Nazis. To this day, Jewish people face discriminatory acts of violence. No one should fear for their life when they walk into a religious place of worship, but we have to.

And yet instead of denouncing continuous violence against Jewish people, Kanye West decided to promote it. On several occasions. This is not “accidental.” This is not a “mistake” that does not deserve to be put on blast. As stated by many psychologists, mental illness does not compel people to be racist, nor is it an excuse for acts of hate and racism. There is no world in which Kanye West deserves a second chance – although, in reality, he’s been given so many second chances. I would also like to note another artist mentioned in this article, Rex Orange County, has been accused of sexually assaulting several young women. Yet again, these violent actions are not mistakes that deserve forgiveness. They were choices made that put lives at risk.

I don’t think this article is in bad faith. And I think this is a prevalent debate to highlight that’s happening all across the nation. I’m still unsure if we, as listeners, can separate art from artists. And I agree many famous people are unjustly criticized or “canceled” for their actions – for example, the Prime Minister of Finland singing and dancing on video.

However, I take issue with the artists featured in this article. Kanye West and Rex Orange County are not in the category of making “mistakes.” This rhetoric – that their actions were not that bad and should not have consequences – only further perpetuates the antisemitism and ignorance, so many of my peers and I face daily.

Maya Sachs, Class of 2023