Kanye West is seen on November 27, 2022 in Los Angeles, California (left) Elon Musk on May 2, 2022 in New York City (right). Image: Taylor Hill / MEGA/GC (Getty Images)
Kanye West has been banned from Twitter after posting a swastika designed to look like a Star of David and sharing personal text messages the rapper had with Twitter owner Elon Musk. It’s not immediately clear if West was banned for the swastika or for publicly sharing his texts from Musk, who purchased Twitter for $44 billion in October.
West’s ban, known as a “permanent suspension” on the social media platform, happened shortly after midnight on Friday after West made an absolutely unhinged appearance on the Alex Jones Show earlier in the day on Thursday. West, who brought along neo-Nazi commentator Nick Fuentes, praised Nazis and very explicitly said he liked Adolf Hitler.
At one point during the bizarre three-hour show, Kanye took issue with Alex Jones calling Nazis “evil.”
“I love Jewish people but I also love Nazis,” West said to laughter from Jones, who said he “happened to disagree with that.”
West also made ridiculous claims about Hitler inventing the microphone and highways, both of which aren’t true. And while West, who legally changed his first name to Ye, may be having a serious mental health breakdown, that’s no excuse for the vile anti-semitism on display, as Gizmodo explained back in October. Bipolar disorder doesn’t make you an anti-semite, and former employees of West have recently come forward to say that West has always had a love of Hitler.
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Musk, who has previously said he’s a “free speech absolutist,” tweeted at West before he was suspended, saying that it was fine for West to tweet unflattering photos of Musk shirtless, something West did as a “last tweet,” but not okay to tweet the swastika.
“I tried my best. Despite that he again violated our rule against incitement to violence. Account will be suspended,” Musk tweeted after West’s suspension.
But it wasn’t just the swastika that apparently upset Musk, since West also shared private texts between the two billionaires.
“Sorry but you have gone too far. This is not love,” Musk texted West according to screenshots posted by the rapper before his account was suspended.
“Who made you the judge,” West responded.
A tweet sent by Kanye West on Thursday night, including screenshots of his text conversations with Elon Musk.Image: Twitter
Musk, who has called West a friend on several occasions, tweeted “FAFO,” early Friday, an acronym for “fuck around and find out.” Jason Calacanis, a venture capitalist brought on by Musk to make changes at Twitter, tweeted that, “rules are rules,” though it’s not really clear which rules West was breaking, since Musk has promised to allow any “legal” speech on the platform.
If swastikas alone are interpreted as an incitement to violence—a valid idea, but one that many modern day conservatives probably wouldn’t agree with—it makes sense that West would be banned for that tweet. But it’s long past time for Musk to be clear about what is and isn’t allowed on Twitter, given his recent decision to welcome back several literal Nazis onto the platform.
Twitter’s press team, which may or may not exist anymore since Musk took the helm, did not respond to emailed questions early Friday. Gizmodo will update this article if we hear back.
The far-right has often tried to dance around explicitly embracing Nazis in public as a way to win what they call the war of optics with regular Americans. But West set fire to that thin veneer of respectability on Jones’s show Thursday and clearly upset Musk enough to ban him from Twitter overnight.
Twitter’s rules are obviously being selectively enforced right now but there’s one thing that will definitely get you banned: Pissing off Elon Musk.