As several news stories about music artist Kanye West entered the news cycle on October 26 2022, a viral tweet suggested that West had been “banned” from trading card came Yu-Gi-Oh:
kanye west has been suspended from yu-gi-oh! pic.twitter.com/OPwywVSHxv
— francis wolf (@francisxwolf) October 26, 2022
That tweet began spreading a day after screenshots of a real tweet appeared from the official account from Weight Watchers, congratulating sports brand Adidas on “losing 163 lbs.”:
Congrats @adidas on losing 163 lbs!!!
— WeightWatchers (@ww_us) October 25, 2022
What’s Going on With Kanye West in October 2022?
An October 27 2022 editorial in The Atlantic, “Kanye West Destroys Himself,” provided a recap of West’s increasingly erratic behavior:
[In late October 2022], Kanye West became the latest anti-Jewish conspiracy theorist to be undone by his own delusions. What began with a few unhinged social-media posts from the artist, who now goes by Ye, culminated in a week-long whirlwind of anti-Jewish invective. In interviews and online, Ye’s tirades took a depressingly familiar form: Unable to address his problems rationally, he resorted to the age-old avoidance strategy of pinning them on the Jews. Angered by ex-wife Kim Kardashian’s public revelation that she had sex with her then-boyfriend in front of a fireplace, Ye railed that “it’s Jewish Zionists that’s about that life, that’s telling this Christian woman that has four Black children to put that out as a message in the media.” Ye also assailed Black performers “doing a movie on a Jewish platform like Disney.” Notably, Kardashian and her family have an exclusive TV deal with Hulu, which is owned by Disney. Simply put, instead of honestly reckoning with the true causes of his pain, Ye offloaded it onto the Jews. Which meant that, in the end, the rapper was left with his pain and not much else.
On October 25 2022, Vox.com published an explainer, which noted that in early October 2022, West appeared in public in a “White Lives Matter” shirt as a “stunt.” Not long after that, West made antisemitic remarks on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program:
The ensuing outrage this stunt provoked might have quickly faded like most Ye-related outrage, had he not quickly followed it up with an even more shocking appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show. The interview, a two-hour pre-taped conversation with Carlson, was filmed in response to Ye’s fashion show and aired over two nights on October 6 and 7  … Throughout the interview, Ye made provocative insinuations about Jews and money and went on unprovoked tangents. His unsettling statements suggest he is growing increasingly paranoid, adopting a range of bizarre conspiracy theories and delusions, and harboring growing antisemitic tendencies. As disconcerting as the interview itself was, Vice later reported that Carlson’s show strategically edited it to make Ye’s remarks appear more coherent and less antisemitic than they apparently were. Even the broadcast footage was striking, however.
At various points, Ye did seem to be his old trenchant self. He indicated he’s still, at least nominally, thinking about the impact of racism, regardless of what T-shirts and hats he wears. “For politicians, all Black people are worth is an approval rating,” he told Carlson, in a direct criticism of Trump. “The Democrats … and the Republicans feel that they don’t owe us anything.”
Vox.com surmised that West’s use of “they” might not be perceived as inarguably antisemitic — but that was before West continued his commentary on social media, and before his unedited remarks on Fox News came to light:
At the time of the interview airing, you could be forgiven if you interpreted Ye’s use of “they” here as a reference to Trump’s relatives. But it would soon become alarmingly clear that Ye was being straightforwardly antisemitic here … This became rapidly apparent once Ye blasted out more antisemitic remarks via Instagram and his only recently revived Twitter account, in posts that both platforms have since removed. Ye first posted to Instagram, sharing a long series of screenshot texts between himself and fellow rap legend Sean Combs, after Diddy apparently tried to reach out to share his concern for Ye promoting the “white lives matter” slogan. Ye, clearly angry, told Diddy he was focused on selling his merch. Then he added, “Ima use you as an example to show the Jewish people that told you to call me that no one can threaten or influence me.”
The outcry over Ye’s antisemitism was immediate and sustained, and his Insta posts were quickly deleted. But Ye then tweeted into the ensuing wave of backlash. He revived his account by linking a Forbes article about likely future Twitter owner Elon Musk welcoming him back to the platform following his Instagram cancellation. In the same tweet, however, he abruptly threatened the world’s 15 million Jewish people: “I’m a bit sleepy tonight but when I wake up I’m going death con 3 [sic] on JEWISH PEOPLE,” he wrote, an apparent reference to going on “defcon” military alert … Incredibly, all of this happened before Vice revealed on October 11  that Carlson had strategically edited his interview with Ye, and that the parts that didn’t air were even more offensive and conspiratorial in nature.
Why Did Weight Watchers Congratulate Adidas on ‘Losing 163 Lbs.’?
On October 25 2022, Adidas announced it would end its massive, long-running business partnership with West:
But as Ye, as Mr. West is now known, continued his offensive behavior, and with the condemnation of his remarks growing more widespread, Adidas announced Tuesday [October 25 2022] that it would cut ties with him — a move the company said would cost it 250 million euros ($246 million) this year .
The end of their nearly decade-long partnership — which one estimate said was worth close to $100 million annually to Ye — raised questions of what would come next for Ye, who has been one of the most influential pop stars of recent decades but has become increasingly polarizing and unreliable. CAA, Ye’s former talent agency, no longer represents him and Def Jam, his longtime record company, said that his contract had expired last year .
“Adidas does not tolerate antisemitism and any other sort of hate speech,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
An October 26 2022 Vulture.com list, “Every Company That’s Dropped Kanye West,” appeared to be updated as companies severed their partnerships with the performer. Among entities on the list were JPMorgan Chase (in September 2022), Balenciaga, Gap, Foot Locker, and TJ Maxx.
On October 26 2022, Skechers published a statement (“Skechers Issues Statement on Kanye West Unauthorized Visit”) disclosing that West had made an unannounced, uninvited visit to a Skechers corporate offices in Los Angeles.
In the statement, Skechers disclosed it had “no intention” of partnering with West:
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Skechers USA, Inc. (NYSE:SKX), The Comfort Technology Company™, stated Kanye West – also referred to as Ye – arrived unannounced and without invitation at one of Skechers’ corporate offices in Los Angeles. Considering Ye was engaged in unauthorized filming, two Skechers executives escorted him and his party from the building after a brief conversation. Skechers is not considering and has no intention of working with West. We condemn his recent divisive remarks and do not tolerate antisemitism or any other form of hate speech. The Company would like to again stress that West showed up unannounced and uninvited to Skechers corporate offices.
Is Kanye West Banned from Yu-Gi-Oh?
During a stream of statements by brands coming from several directions, the tweet suggesting that Kanye West was “banned from Yu-Gi-Oh!” led to confusion over whether or not it was legitimate; Yu-Gi-Oh! is a legitimate trading card game.
The tweet included a screenshot of what appeared to be the official Yu-Gi-Oh! website, and a page labeled “Suspended Persons List, updated 8/31/2022.” That page was real (and prefaced with that date), but West was not listed on it.
In late October 2022, a tweet joked that Kanye West was “suspended from Yu-Gi-Oh!” (with a screenshot of the game’s “Suspended Persons List.”) Throughout October 2022, West made high-profile antisemitic remarks in various contexts. One day before the tweet was published, several brands — most notably Adidas — ended their business relationships with West, making the joke seem plausible.