SYDNEY — US rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, may not be suitable for an Australian visa due to his history of anti-Semitic remarks, a government minister said on Wednesday, amid mounting pressure to refuse the entrance from the award-winning rapper.
Education Minister Jason Clare condemned Ye’s “horrible” anti-Semitic comments about Hitler and the Holocaust, saying others who made similar statements were denied visas.
“People like this who have applied for visas to enter Australia in the past have been turned down,” Clare said in an interview on Channel Nine. “I expect that if he applies, he will have to go through the same process and answer the same questions as them.”
A spokesperson for Ye did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Local media reported that Ye would travel to Australia to meet the family of his partner, Bianca Censori, who grew up in Melbourne.
Ye was dropped by major business partners, including Adidas, and banned from Twitter due to anti-Semitic remarks and social media outbursts against other celebrities.
Australia has previously refused or revoked visas to far-right figures for failing the “good character” test. British conspiracy theorist David Icke had his visa revoked in 2019, just before starting a speaking tour.
Gavin McInnes, founder of the Proud Boys, an all-male group that identifies as “western chauvists”, was denied a visa in 2018 after a public campaign that included a petition with 81,000 signatories, according to local media.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, immigration minister under a previous government, said on Tuesday he would be inclined to ban Ye but that was a government decision.
“His anti-Semitic comments are shameful, his conduct [and] his behavior is appalling,” he told 3AW radio. “He is not a person of good character and the minister has the ability to prevent someone from entering our country with bad character.”
Peter Wertheim, co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, met with officials on Tuesday to advocate for an entry ban.
“We had a sympathetic audience,” Wertheim told Sky News. “We have argued that this particular individual does not meet the character test and that it would be in the national interest not to grant him a visa and we have set out our reasons in detail in this letter.”