Kanye West, now known as Ye, is buying Parler, a free speech platform, while his accounts on mainstream social media platforms seem to be on thin ice. Is this for publicity, sheer propaganda, or self-expression?
Ye decided to buy Parler after his Twitter account was suspended because of an antisemitic tweet (his Twitter account is now restored.) that read, “I am a bit sleepy tonight, but when I wake up I am going death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE… the funny thing is I actually can’t be ANTI SEMITIC because Black people are actually Jew.”
Parler is a social media platform that claims to create an uncancelable ecosystem where all voices would be welcome. It sounds great, but the problem is we can’t welcome all; some need to be stifled so we can eliminate content categorized as hate speech. But it appears that Ye is forgetting the distinction between hate and free speech.
Hate vs. free speech
There have been instances where people were banned for saying the right thing. But it’s not the case with Ye.
Freedom of speech/thought/opinion fosters self-expression, objectivity, and critical evaluation of fundamental principles that shape our lives. The purpose of freedom of speech has always been related to critical analysis of our social, behavioral, political, and cultural norms and standards, so we can find a way to better our lives.
Someone has to say something about a social issue before we can do something about it. However, not everyone can agree on a matter. Therefore, people should be allowed to say whatever they want. However, some people take advantage of the freedom to say anything and end up with words that incite, misinform, influence others negatively, and cause irreparable damage.
Free speech seeks to identify, criticize, analyze, and evaluate a social, cultural, or behavioral situation with valid arguments. A great example here would be conservatives like Ben Shapiro.
Hate speech involves derogatory/sensitive language against a group without regard for meaningful dialogue.
So buying a social media platform to say whatever you want won’t promote freedom of speech; it will only create an unregulated, malignant environment that even Kanye would regret. Hate speech will still be hate speech regardless of what platform hehe chooses to spew it.
While I don’t think Ye is trying to incite something, his words still matter, and they can have consequences. Either Ye is looking for publicity that would keep him trending till he runs (for The Office) in 2024, or he’s failing at expressing himself. But clearly, he’s looking for attention. A black man talking about white lives or accusing Jared Kushner of making money from the peace treaties in Israel will draw attention. And these are not the only controversies he’s started recently.
Here is a portion of his interview with Tucker Carlson where Kanye made baseless claims about 50% of the Black population being killed via abortion.
Controversy and business
In my recent post about Nike’s sales and marketing strategy, I talked about how Nike uses controversy to sell more; it isn’t always bad, and Nike is a great example. But it becomes perilous when dealing with sensitive subjects like racism and dangerous stereotypes. Kanye is drawing negative attention because of the controversies his remarks have sparked. The result? Adidas recently cut ties with the rapper even when he claimed that “I could say antisemitic things and Adidas can’t drop me.”
According to Forbes, he no longer holds his status as a billionaire on the Forbes list as the deal’s lucrative nature granted him his 1.2 billion net worth. Was it worth it?
Below is the full statement by Adidas as posted by StopAntisemitism.
Ye and those involved in creating an ‘uncancelable culture’ will eventually find the attention they seek, but it won’t reap any long-term benefits as not many people would board the hate train. I don’t know if Ye’s being influenced or is acting alone.