An anti-Semitic hate group was behind a banner hung above a busy Los Angeles freeway on Saturday saying “Kanye is right about the Jews,” watchdog groups said, after Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, made a series of anti-Semitic comments those last weeks.
A number of people could be seen raising their arms in a Nazi salute as they stood behind the banner and another sign that read, “Honk if you know.” A third banner promoted a video platform that broadcasts anti-Semitic content operated by the Goyim Defense League, a network of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.
StopAntisemitism.org, a nonprofit group dedicated to documenting antisemitic behavior said the GDL was responsible for hanging the banners above Interstate 405.
“Hate has no place in Los Angeles or anywhere else and these attempts will not divide us,” he said.
A number of high-profile figures spoke out over the weekend against the recent rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric.
Kim Kardashian, Ye’s ex-wife, tweeted monday“Hate speech is never acceptable or excusable. I stand with the Jewish community and call for an immediate end to the terrible violence and hateful rhetoric against them.”
Reese Witherspoon wrote in a tweet on Sunday night, “Anti-Semitism in any form is deplorable. In person. Online. No matter where. It’s hate and it’s wrong.”
“I totally understand why my Jewish friends/colleagues are scared for their families. It’s a very scary time,” she said.
Comedian and actress Amy Schumer said in an Instagram post, “I support my Jewish friends and the Jewish people.”
From the White House to Los Angeles City Hall, political leaders also condemned the incident with the banner and Ye’s example.
“@POTUS ran to heal the soul of the nation after years of hatred and division. As part of this healing, we must expose anti-Semitism wherever it rears its ugly head. These actions in Los Angeles are disgusting and must be condemned,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wrote in a statement. Tweeter.
“LA is a city of belonging, not of hate,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote in a tweet condemning “this weekend’s anti-Semitic incidents.”
“Jewish Angelenos should always feel safe,” he said. “There is no place for discrimination or prejudice in Los Angeles. And we will never back down from the fight to expose and eliminate them.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, said he was also “horrified by the despicable anti-Semitism on display in Los Angeles over the weekend”.
“Tragically, this shows the power some hold to amplify hateful language and how quickly they can persuade others to express their own bigotry,” he said, appearing to refer to Ye’s recent comments, without name the rapper. “We must condemn hate wherever we see it – immediately and forcefully.”
The incident comes after Ye, who has spoken out about his mental health issues and has a habit of posting erratically online, made a number of anti-Semitic comments on social media, which prompted the rapper have their Twitter and Instagram accounts temporarily restricted.
Talent agency CAA confirmed to NBC News on Monday that it had stopped representing Ye as a client for the past month, but did not say whether the move was a result of the comments.
The producers of the online talk show “The Shop” also shot an episode featuring the rapper after saying he used “extremely dangerous hate speech and stereotyping” during the recording.
As the rapper faced growing backlash over his comments, he was announced last week that Ye had agreed to acquire the conservative-leaning social media app Parler.
Parliament Technologies, the parent company of Parler, announced last Monday that it had “reached an agreement in principle to sell Parler” to Ye, which it said was “taking a bold stand against its recent censorship of Big Tech.”
NBC News has reached out to a representative for Ye for comment.
The ADL warned that “extremists across the ideological spectrum,” including members of the GDL, have embraced Ye’s anti-Semitic statements and celebrated news of his plans to acquire Parler.
In addition to Saturday’s incident, the ADL said the GDL was also trying to “capitalize on Ye’s comments by targeting the black community with its propaganda and seeking to convince black people that Jews are a universal enemy.” .
The ADL said members of the group’s Telegram chat were seen discussing new initiatives related to Ye’s comments, including the creation of flyers accusing Jews of the Atlantic slave trade, while some members claimed to have specifically targeted black neighborhoods in recent propaganda distributions.
The Los Angeles and Beverly Hills Police Departments said they were investigating anti-Semitic fliers distributed in Beverly Hills, according to the LA Times. It is unclear if they were related to the incident on Saturday. Police departments did not immediately respond to an overnight request for more information.