Grime star Wiley forfeits MBE for 'bringing the honours system into disrepute' years after anti-Semitic Tweets

23 February 2024, 15:54 | Updated: 23 February 2024, 15:57

Wiley has forfeited his MBE for "bringing the honours system into disrepute"
Wiley has forfeited his MBE for "bringing the honours system into disrepute". Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

British grime artist Wiley, real name Richard Cowie, has forfeited his MBE for "bringing the honours system into disrepute", according to a list published on the Cabinet Office website.

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He was originally honoured for his services to music in 2017.

At the time he wrote 'Big up the Queen' after the honour was made public.

The 45-year-old from Bow, east London, said the honour was like receiving "the school grade I wanted and didn't get".

But in July 2020 he was suspended from Twitter after posting several anti-Semitic messages discussing the 'power' of Jewish people.

He posted: “Listen to me Jewish community Israel is not your country I’m sorry… The Star of David that’s our ting … Some people have gotten too comfortable on lands that don’t belong to them.”

“Red Necks are the KKK and Jewish people are the Law… Work that out,” he continued.

Read more: Ex-Post Office boss Paula Vennells formally stripped of CBE by King Charles

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“If you work for a company owned by 2 Jewish men and you challenge the Jewish community in anyway of course you will get fired.”

The Campaign Against Antisemitism had called for him to lose his MBE, after comments they allege he made in 2020.

The group posted online: "The Honours Forfeiture Committee has announced today that it is stripping the antisemitic grime rapper Richard Kylea Cowie, known as Wiley, of his MBE, following calls to do so by Campaign Against Antisemitism."

Stephen Silverman, Director of Investigations and Enforcement for Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Antisemites like Wiley must understand that we will work tirelessly to hold them to account.

"For four years, we have worked to ensure that Wiley faces ruinous consequences for his unhinged antisemitic tirade, for which he has shown no remorse. Today’s decision is a vindication of that effort.

“We commend the Honours Forfeiture Committee for using its powers to make clear that anti-Jewish racists cannot be role models in our society and will be stripped of their honours.

"Receiving an honour is not a one-time thing: it carries an ongoing responsibility to set an example to others.

“Due to technical reasons, including legal action that we continue to pursue against Wiley, the forfeiture was delayed. We are grateful to the Honours Forfeiture Committee for its work on this matter.”

Wiley's name appears on a list of three people who've had their honours formally revoked by the King - which also includes former Post Office chief executive Paula Vennells, who's had her CBE taken away from her after the recent outcry over the Horizon IT scandal.

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