Elon Musk’s troubling, nascent vision for Twitter was on full display this weekend after the SpaceX and Tesla CEO strode into the center of a content moderation controversy created by Kanye West, who now goes by Ye.
West popped up on Twitter Friday night for the first time since November 2020, tweeting “Look at this Mark, How you gone kick me off instagram” with a blurry photo of himself and Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg singing karaoke. The company confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Instagram indeed removed content from West’s account and placed restrictions on it following repeated policy violations. While West’s account was still visible on Sunday, it’s likely frozen from posting new content temporarily.
West’s recent Instagram posts are all screenshots of texts, and the post that broke Instagram’s rules appears to have been a conversation with Sean “Diddy” Combs in which he invoked anti-semitic tropes, accusing the other musician of being controlled by “the Jewish people.”
Future Twitter owner Elon Musk quickly swept in to welcome West back to the platform, in spite of the troubled artist’s very recent expressions of anti-semitism.
West appears to have interpreted Musk’s warm welcome as a green light, elaborating on his anti-semitic conspiracies in a tweet only twelve hours later. “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death [sic] con 3 On JEWISH PEOPLE,” West tweeted on Saturday night. “… You guys have toyed with me and tried to black ball anyone whoever opposes your agenda.”
In spite of Musk’s stamp of approval, Twitter removed the tweet, which invoked anti-Jewish stereotypes often espoused by white supremacists, and locked West’s account “due to a violation of Twitter’s policies,” a Twitter spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch.
Just before sowing chaos on Instagram and Twitter, West stirred up controversy at Paris fashion week, debuting a new line in a pop-up warehouse show that included a shirt with the phrase “White Lives Matter.” The incident immediately pitted West again much of the fashion industry, which spoke out against him and defended Vogue Editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, who West attacked for criticizing his stunt as “deeply offensive, violent, and dangerous.”