In an hourslong interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, the rapper Ye praised Hitler, made antisemitic jokes and talked about his recent meeting with former President Donald Trump.
The interview became one of the biggest stories on the internet Thursday, dominating discussions on social media for hours. “Kanye” became the top trending topic on Twitter and, according to Google Trends, searches for “Infowars” spiked during the interview.
During the livestreamed exchange, Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, repeatedly referred to antisemitic stereotypes, made antisemitic jokes and praised Hitler. NBC News previously reported that Ye had used antisemitic language in workplace settings and spoke positively about the Nazi dictator, resulting in at least one paid settlement.
“The Jewish media has made us feel like the Nazis and Hitler have never offered anything of value to the world,” Ye said at one point during the interview. “I see good things about Hitler, also.”
Clips of Ye’s statements quickly went viral on other social media platforms. On Twitter, videos of Ye praising Hitler quickly gained hundreds of thousands of views.
Later Thursday, Ye went further. He tweeted an image appearing to show a swastika inside a Star of David, which was then blocked by Twitter as a violation of its rules.
Twitter owner Elon Musk signaled his disapproval of Ye's post. Musk wrote “That is fine" in response to one tweet in which Ye posted a photo of Musk and suggested the tweet would be his last. In a reply to the Star of David tweet, Musk wrote: "This is not."
Ye's account was later suspended. In a reply to another user, Musk said Ye "again violated our rule against incitement to violence. Account will be suspended.”
In the wake of the Jones interview, Ye received criticism from former friends, supporters and collaborators. On Thursday, the Republican House Judiciary Committee appeared to delete a viral tweet from October that read “Kanye. Elon. Trump.”, and Elon Musk tweeted: “@kanyewest Jesus taught love, kindness and forgiveness. I used to think that turning the other cheek was weak & foolish, but I was the fool for not appreciating its profound wisdom.” The Twitter account for Parler, the alternative social media platform that Ye said he planned to purchase, also tweeted Thursday that the deal was terminated in a mutual agreement in mid-November.
Over the last several months, Ye has repeatedly made statements targeting Jewish people or using Jewish stereotypes, resulting in suspensions from Twitter and Instagram, the termination of his company’s work with Adidas and the end of many other professional partnerships the rapper had with companies, like fashion brand Balenciaga.
On Nov. 20, Ye announced that he intends to run for president in 2024. In the weeks since, Ye revealed that he would be working with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and far-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos on his campaign.
This week Ye also appeared on Tim Pool’s conservative-leaning YouTube show. When Pool began pushing back against Ye’s antisemitic statements, Ye walked away from the interview.
In Jones’ broadcast, Ye was allowed to freely make antisemitic statements alongside Fuentes with little questioning from Jones, who at times said that he himself was not antisemitic. In November, Jones was ordered to pay nearly half a billion dollars to families of Sandy Hook school shooting victims, for promoting the falsehood that the 2012 massacre was a hoax.
Mixed in with his antisemitic remarks, Ye also addressed his recent dinner with Trump at Mar-a-Lago, saying that “Trump loved Nick.” Ye recounted, “He looked at me, said, “Where did you find this kid?”
The account adds to the growing controversy surrounding Fuentes’ presence at the dinner table, which has prompted bipartisan criticism given his history as a white supremacist. Trump has since denied knowing who Fuentes was during the encounter.