Racist rapper Wiley forfeits MBE for ‘bringing the honours system into disrepute’

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Racist rapper Wiley forfeits MBE for ‘bringing the honours system into disrepute’

Musician engaged in days of online hate in 2020, accusing Jews of being racists and cowards and asked if it was antisemitic 'to say Jewish people have power'

The disgraced rapper Wiley has forfeited his MBE for “bringing the honours system into disrepute”.

A list published to the Cabinet Office website said the award had been forfeited this month.

The musician, whose real name is Richard Cowie, had been honoured for his services to music in the December 2017 New Year Honours list.

At the time, the 45-year-old from Bow, east London, said the honour was like receiving “the school grade I wanted and didn’t get”. He told the PA news agency: “I’m honoured to be receiving an MBE. It feels like the school grade I wanted and didn’t get but now I’m finally there.”

After Wiley’s honour, he was banned by social media platforms for posting a stream of antisemitic abuse, including a picture of him dressed as an Orthodox Jew and a fake beard and videos about “Satanic Jews” and “Jewish faces” controlling “black music”.

He posted a video called: “The Jewish Faces that Control Hiphop and Mainstream Black Music” and a clip by notorious antisemitic preacher Louis Farrakhan, called: “I’m here to separate the ‘good Jews’ from the ‘Satanic Jews’”.

Wiley also engaged in days of online hate in July 2020, during which he accused Jewish people of being “racist” and “cowards”, and asked if it was antisemitic “to say Jewish people have power”.

Stephen Silverman, director of investigations and enforcement for Campaign Against Antisemitism, who wrote to the Honours Forfeiture Committee to appeal against the honour, 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 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.”

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