British Grime Star Wiley Stripped Of Top Award Following Investigation Into Anti-Semitic Comments

Editors note: This story originally ran with a photo that more prominently featured the rapper Skepta, with Wiley in the background. We regret the error.

British grime artist Wiley has been stripped of a national honour, after he posted abusive social media posts aimed at his Jewish critics and other figures.

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The 45-year-old rapper from East London was seven years ago awarded the MBE – Member of the British Empire, presented by the monarch – for his services to music.

Within a few years, his followers had noticed many anti-Semitic comments on his social media platform, including a statement likening Jews to the Ku Klux Klan. He also wrote “Israel is ours,” apparently referring to the black community, and shared his opinion that Jewish people control global business interests, as well as the entertainment industry.

At the time, the musician was suspended from X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram, while his manager John Woolf, who is Jewish, resigned from his role.

Wiley later apologised for the comments, telling the UK’s Sky News: “My comments should not have been directed to all Jews or Jewish people. I want to apologise for generalising, and I want to apologise for comments that were looked at as anti-Semitic.”

Asked whether he thought his posts could incite violence towards Jewish people, he replied: “Well, you’ve never seen me commit a violent act towards Jewish people or the Jewish community.”

Now, the BBC reports that, following further, similarly framed comments from the artist’s new social media account and pressure for the government to review his MBE honor, he was formally stripped of the award Friday afternoon, with a statement saying he was guilty of “bringing the honours system into disrepute.”

Previously high-profile figures to be stripped of their awards include shamed entertainer Rolf Harris and Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.

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