Formerly known as Kanye West, rapper Ye has left a sprawling fan base and network of dedicated creators in limbo after praising Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
After Ye appeared on far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ website Infowars on December 1, social media exploded with clips of the artist’s comments on Hitler. It prompted many of Ye’s supporters on Reddit, Twitter, and Instagram to blame him, some distanced themselves entirely, and others temporarily paused the post. Despite the backlash, some continue to post in hopes that the fandom doesn’t completely disappear.
The moderators of the /r/WestSubEver subreddit, one of the largest Reddit pages on Ye, told its 119,000 members in a post that they will “close the subreddit in the near future.” The subreddit’s description was changed to “Welcome to r/WestSubEver, which is devoted to news, theories, and controversy about the previously disgraced artist and neo-Nazi Kanye West.”
/r/WestSubEver moderator Reddit user CalmYe, requesting anonymity for fear of harassment, said the moderation team had unanimously agreed to close the subreddit.
“We were disgusted by his behavior after the Infowars interview,” CalmYe said. “We didn’t want to give a platform to what they were saying anymore.”
We were disgusted by his behavior after the Infowars interview. We didn’t want to give a platform to what he was saying anymore.”
-Reddit user CalmYe, moderator of /r/WestSubEver
CalmYe said that in the past two months, the community has gone to “hell” due to the sudden influx of alt-right members joining the page and posting hate speech. The subreddit became increasingly difficult to moderate, and Ye’s tribute to Hitler was a tipping point.
CalmYe said that mods won’t delete /r/WestSubEver. They plan to keep the page down for at least a month.
The team currently plans to use the page to post occasional music news from Ye, with limitations on members’ comments. CalmYe said that there are fans who are interested in Ye’s music and choose to separate the art from the artist.
The moderators decided to rebrand their group on the chat app Discord and began polling members on what they would like as an alternative topic. CalmYe also said that the members set up channels on Discord to educate each other about the realities of antisemitism and the Holocaust.
CalmYe said that most fans were “disgusted” by Ye’s recent behavior, and this latest interview left many to leave the artist forever. CalmYe said it’s been hard to watch her community crumble in recent days.
“We had a tight-knit community. … We had a lot of memes. We had a lot of regular users. “Of course we had moderators, and it’s a bit depressing,” he said.
Meanwhile, members of the /r/Kanye subreddit, which has more than 712,000 members, appeared to be discussing their options. Some members urged the moderators to “shut down the sub,” while others hoped there might be a way to save the community.
On Friday, the subreddit was full of Taylor Swift memes and members swapping Ye fandom for Swiftie status; this is a nod to Ye and Swift’s years of feud after the 2009 Video Music Awards. Others have posted recommendations for educational materials on the Holocaust and have stated that the page should be a Holocaust remembrance subreddit.
Reddit user avayr44, moderator of /r/Kanye, said they have no plans to shut down the subreddit. Avayr44, who requested anonymity for fear of harassment, said the page will remain accessible to fans who want to process Ye’s recent behavior.
“For a lot of people, this Reddit is a way to get closer to like-minded people who grew up with Kanye and were disappointed by his recent actions,” she said.
Regarding supporting the rapper, avayr44 said that the decision to separate the art from the artist is a personal decision for every fan to make. Avayr44 said the future of the subreddit depends on what the community wants, and mods will “respond accordingly.”
Chris Lambert, co-host of the Ye-themed podcast “Watching the Throne” on Twitter, said that the podcast and related YouTube channel came to an end after an interview with Infowars. Lambert previously said on his website that “Following Your Throne” is the #1 podcast of Ye, with over 100,000 downloads per month.
“This account will probably never tweet about Ye again. The podcast is complete. The YouTube channel will be rebranded. Thank you all for your support over the years. And for all the continued support and connectivity,” tweeted Lambert. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Other Ye-focused creators tried to manipulate their followers after the Infowars interview.
Comedian Emilie Hagen, who runs an Instagram page documenting Ye’s posts, said it was difficult to navigate Ye’s return to far-right politics. In February 2022, she launched “kanyesposts,” an archive that reposts everything Ye shares on Instagram, among other appearances and interviews. His account has over 126,000 followers and is currently set to private.
“It was a lot more fun in the beginning because I was documenting him calling Pete Davidson ‘Skete,’ and then we got into this new political space and I said, ‘OK, that’s not what I signed up for,'” Hagen said of Ye’s Infowars interview week “the worst week ever.” described as.
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Hagen hasn’t taken his page away from Ye yet, but said he spent the days after the Infowars interview “making disclaimers on his IG story to fend off trolls, try to keep the peace among a divided fan base, and keep everyone calm.” ”
“I’m basically his free publicist at this point,” he added. Hagen, a fan of Ye, said he wasn’t sure if his reputation could be restored. However, he said he continues to work as an archivist of social media posts. The account’s bio reads, “We don’t support every view Ye offers.”
In recent months, brands and their former collaborators have cut ties with Ye over anti-Semitic remarks. While Adidas and Gap referred to antisemitism in their statements about parting ways with Ye, Balenciaga and Ye’s former agency CAA reportedly dropped him after Ye made antisemitic posts on Instagram and Twitter in October.
Ye representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.