Essex Court Chambers barrister calls for Wiley to be stripped of MBE following anti-Semitic rant

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By Aishah Hussain on

Honour should be revoked ‘at earliest opportunity’, says Jeremy Brier, as grime artist is banned from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Jeremy Brier and Wiley (via Wikimedia Commons)

An Essex Court Chambers barrister has written an open letter calling for Wiley to be stripped of his MBE following a series of anti-Semitic posts that saw the grime artist banned from social media.

In an eight-tweet thread on Twitter this week, Jeremy Brier wrote to the Cabinet Office stating he has “strong reasons” to believe why the performer should be stripped of the honour for his “extraordinary and sustained publication of vicious anti-Semitic views”.

Last week, Wiley, whose real name is Richard Kylea Cowie, caused outrage when he posted anti-Semitic comments on Twitter. The tweets were probed by the police and condemned by the government before Twitter permanently suspended the musician from its platform.

Wiley continued his rant on both Facebook and Instagram from which he has now also been banned. He is understood to be active on his YouTube account but the video-sharing website is facing mounting pressure, most notably from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, to delete his channel.

Brier, a commercial barrister and legal commentator, goes on to outline three reasons why Wiley’s MBE should be revoked “at the earliest opportunity”:

Brier concludes: “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.”

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Wiley, known as the ‘godfather of grime’, shot to fame in 2008 with the hit single Wearing my Rolex. Since then he has become an influential figure in British culture and was awarded an MBE for services to music in 2018.

He has since apologised for “generalising” in his comments that were “looked at as anti-Semitic” and insisted he is not racist, in an interview with Sky News on Wednesday. Wiley said he would be willing to give up his MBE, and that his former manager, John Woolf, has always retained possession of it. A spokesperson for Woolf said it is waiting for him to collect.

A petition has been set up calling on the government to strip Wiley of his MBE. It has so far received 29,298 signatures.

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