Barrister pens open letter calling for Wiley to be stripped of MBE

A barrister has explained why they penned an open letting calling for rapper Wiley to be stripped of his MBE, following a spate of anti-Semitic posts that saw him banned from social media.

Last week the 41-year-old rapper caused outrage following a shocking rant in which he compared the Jewish community to the Ku Klux Klan and tweeted ‘Israel is not yours’.

The tweets sparked a boycott of Twitter and were investigated by the Metropolitan Police, before it was confirmed by Twitter Wiley had been permanently suspended from the platform.

Yesterday he insisted he wasn’t racist and apologised for ‘comments that were looked at as anti-Semitic’.

However Jeremy Brier has penned an open letter to the Cabinet Office this week, sharing it on Twitter on Thursday, outlining why he believes Wiley should have his MBE forfeited.

Calls have been made in the past week to strip the performer of his title, after he was made an MBE for services to music in 2018, but, according to Sky News, Wiley said he would be willing to give it up as he never felt comfortable accepting his MBE due to Britain’s ‘colonialism history’.

Wiley also claimed that his manager John Woolf has the MBE framed in his house, with Woolf telling Sky the award was framed for the rapper and he had never collected it.

Brier, a barrister and legal commentator, posted his open letter in an eight-tweet thread that began: ‘Dear Sir or Madam, I have strong reasons to believe that the honour of MBE bestowed upon the musician Richard Kylea Cowie Jr (“Wiley”) should be forfeited by reason of his extraordinary and sustained publication of vicious antisemitic views, during the period 24-26 July 2020.’

After sharing reasons, he went on: ‘It is particularly essential that those followers see that these sort of views and remarks are unacceptable to the Honours Committee and at odds with receiving the highest Honours from the State.’

Mr Brier told the PA news agency: ‘When we give out honours we are effectively bestowing a real legitimacy on that person as a servant of our country and someone that has done very good deeds or contributed in a significant way.

‘As a country we can’t be seen to say “yes, we give the cloak of respectability to people with extreme racist views”.

‘I think we as a country should care about who gets our honours.’

Following Wiley’s tweets – which sparked condemnation from the government – he was also banned from Instagram and Facebook, where he had carried on his rant after being banned from Twitter.

He still had control of his YouTube account, however, and in a video scrolled through his Twitter feed, which he still has access to, and read some of the tweets he’s spotted in recent days.

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