James O'Brien's monologue on Wiley's "unbelievably despicable" tweets

27 July 2020, 14:08

By Fiona Jones

This was James O'Brien's response to rapper Wiley's "unbelievably despicable" anti-Semitic tweets.

Grime artist Wiley has been dropped by his management after taking to Twitter this weekend to write a string of anti-Semitic tweets, including a message likening Jewish people to the Ku Klux Klan.

In response many high profile Brits have joined a 48-hour Twitter "walkout" in protest of the company's perceived inaction, including James O'Brien.

James branded the rapper's tweets as "unbelievably despicable" after Wiley broadcasted his thoughts that Jewish people are in some way controlling the world, are "snakes", "cowards" and "at war with black people."

Yet James believed the social media platform did not act quickly enough: "The best way I can think of phrasing it is to point out with great power comes great responsibility and Twitter wields enormous power."

"There is for me no debate about what Wiley did was rank, he's been banned for seven days and the offending tweets have been taken down. But some remain on Instagram and some remained on Twitter for far too long," James said.

James O&squot;Brien&squot;s monologue on Wiley&squot;s "unbelievably despicable" tweets
James O'Brien's monologue on Wiley's "unbelievably despicable" tweets. Picture: LBC/PA

Some people have branded it double standards that certain contentious individuals have remained on Twitter for so long while others like Wiley have been taken down, saying this implies Jewish people matter more than people of other backgrounds.

James cited one divisive female character as having been allowed to Tweet controversially for a decade and only having recently been banned from the micro-blogging site.

He called her "cleverer than Wiley" as she knows "exactly where the boundaries are" to enable her never to be removed from social media.

"I think the explanation is that what the people being cited did...you know that you can put up a poster that has echoes of Nazi symbolism but you know that you couldn't put up a Swastika, right?

"You know that you can say absolutely disgusting things about Muslims in general terms but if you deploy Nazi rhetoric or language, you cross a line.

"I think the case of Wiley is an example of somebody not knowing either how to camouflage his bigotry or even acknowledging that it is bigotry," James said.