The rapper formerly known as Kanye West, who has a long history of making antisemitic comments, apologized to the Jewish community in an Instagram post written in Hebrew on Tuesday.
“I sincerely apologize to the Jewish community for any unintended outburst caused by my words or actions,” Ye wrote.
“It was not my intention to offend or demean, and I deeply regret any pain I may have caused,” continued the rapper, who legally changed his name to Ye in 2021.
The statement arrives less than two weeks after Ye went on an antisemitic rant in Las Vegas while promoting his upcoming album “Vultures,” due out Jan. 12. In the rant, he made insidious insinuations about Jewish influence and compared himself to Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler.
“After causing untold damage by using his vast influence and platform to poison countless minds with vicious antisemitism and hate, an apology in Hebrew may be the first step on a long journey towards making amends to the Jewish community and all those who he has hurt,” the Anti-Defamation League said in a statement to The Associated Press and other news outlets on Tuesday. “Ultimately, actions will speak louder than words but this initial act of contrition is welcome.”
The American Jewish Committee, however, criticized Ye’s use of Hebrew in the apology.
“Beyond being bizarre and possibly a ploy to gain more attention, the Hebrew apology — posted without translation — is inaccessible to most American Jews who do not speak the language,” the AJC said in a statement to the AP. “To be sure, using Hebrew to communicate with the Jewish community intentionally denies most American Jews— and, consequently, non-Jews—the ability to directly see Kanye’s apology.”
“While he claims that he is committed to learning and greater understanding, this apology speaks to ‘any pain I may have caused,’ rather than acknowledging the pain that he has caused,” the AJC continued.
Ye has a history of offensive and antisemitic comments, including repeated praise of Hitler and the Nazis. He also once suggested slavery was a choice and called the coronavirus vaccine “the mark of the beast.” In October 2022, he was criticized for wearing a “White Lives Matter” T-shirt at his Paris Fashion Week show and tweeted that he was going to go “death con 3 on JEWISH PEOPLE,” an apparent reference to the U.S. defense readiness condition scale, DEFCON.
“Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness,” the German sportswear company said at the time. Adidas has sold hundreds of millions of euros in remaining Yeezy shoes, donating part of the profits to groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Philonise & Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change.
(Recently, though, Adidas CEO Bjørn Gulden said on a podcast episode that he didn’t think Ye “meant what he said and I don’t think he’s a bad person.” Gulden later apologized, the Anti-Defamation League said.)
Ye was also dropped by talent agency CAA, and his documentary with MRC Entertainment was scrapped. He was locked out of his accounts on Instagram and what was then known as Twitter, though he has since returned to both platforms.
This isn’t the first the rapper has apologized for his antisemitic comments. He expressed some remorse for his “death con 3” tweet on a podcast in October 2022, characterizing the initial tweet as a mistake and apologizing to “the Jewish community.” He also went on “Piers Morgan Uncensored.”
“I will say I’m sorry for the people that I hurt with the confusion that I caused,” he said on the show. But less than two months later, he told conspiracy theorist and host Alex Jones that he sees “good things about Hitler.”
“We’ve seen this behavior from Kanye before — the antisemitic rant and the follow-up apology,” the American Jewish Committee said.
Ye’s latest apology ends with him saying he’s committed to “learning from this experience” and plans on “making amends.” A representative for Ye did not immediately respond to the AP’s request for further comment.