- Over the last month and a half, the musician Ye has sparked backlash for a flurry of incidents.
- Insider spoke with Ian Slater, a 28-year-old honorary moderator of the r/Kanye Reddit forum.
- Slater said the page has turned into a “bloodbath,” with many users getting banned.
Kanye West’s biggest fans are likely accustomed to their idol’s incendiary public actions. The rapper has courted controversy for years, but the last month’s flurry of incidents — from falsely claiming George Floyd died of fentanyl to his multiple antisemitic rants — was an especially dramatic test.
Many supporters have spoken out against West, who recently legally changed his name to Ye. But some ardent fans are sticking by him.
A central hub for news and debate about Ye’s antics is the Reddit page for his biggest supporters, r/Kanye, which has over 700,000 members. Ye’s recent controversies have led to heated dissension and upheaval in the subreddit as some horrified fans have grappled with their inspiration’s sharp turn toward conspiracy theories and antisemitism.
October was particularly tumultuous for the subreddit. Users litigated the morals of Ye’s rhetoric (and of remaining a supporter) in real-time as the musician’s rants inspired real-world hate, like a group hanging antisemitic banners over an LA freeway.
‘The world as we know it is gone,’ says moderator of r/Kanye
Insider spoke to Ian Slater, a 28-year-old moderator of r/Kanye who was once a huge fan but said he isn’t anymore. (He said he has converted to a “Charli XCX guy” after Ye’s descent into conspiracy theories.)
Slater is also a producer and staff member of Ethan Klein’s H3 podcast, which is where he said the r/Kanye Reddit team found him, because he often spoke about Ye.
Slater is an honorary moderator, which means he has access to some tools — removing and approving new posts — but he doesn’t exercise them. The other moderators granted him the prestigious status as a gift because he was a vocal Ye fan back in the end of the 2010s, he said.
Slater described diehard fans as citizens “with no country.”
“The world as we know it is gone,” he said of the Ye subreddit.
The Ye fanbase is already passionate, but these forum posters sharing memes and engaging in discourse about the artist are among the most faithful.
Slater said many fans-turned-critics have left the forum and taken refuge in the subreddit for Frank Ocean, a much more positive space.
For those who remain posting and commenting on r/Kanye, Slater said, “they walk amongst this valley of ash and fire with eyes that do not see.”
The page has mostly condemned Ye’s antisemitism. The second most popular post of the last month is a screenshot of the comedian Eric Andre denouncing Ye, with over 26,000 upvotes. Other popular threads provide detailed explanations of why Ye’s comments were antisemitic.
Slater said “it seems like the main mods are very active in removing the problematic” content, but harmful content is spreading in the forum.
“It’s a bloodbath out here,” Slater said.
He said some “users are shitposting their way to an early ban grave,” while longtime accounts with tons of karma — Reddit’s point system — are also being banned. Slater didn’t know the exact number of users banned recently or whether the subreddit has seen an uptick in suspensions since Ye’s spree of public incidents, though he described it as a volatile moment.
Slater said the subreddit’s ‘Controversial’ section is hellish
Slater compared the subreddit’s “Controversial” section to “Dante Inferno’s trip to the 7th circle.” (The controversial tab organizes posts by those that have similar numbers of upvotes and downvotes, suggesting readers are conflicted.)
The most “controversial” post of the last month is a screenshot of a Ye song and the text “YE FOREVER” with lots of fire emojis. On Wednesday, the post’s score was at net zero with almost 300 comments.
Other controversial threads accuse fellow posters of not being true Ye fans. Moderators appear to have deleted many of the comments with antisemitic stereotypes and rhetoric. Some can still be viewed using Unddit — a third-party tool that shows removed comments.
Other controversial posts include fans saying they’re “done” with Ye and his music, including a thread of someone saying they tossed their Yeezy shoes in the garbage.
When asked for his stance on Ye’s antisemitism and other controversies, Slater said he didn’t support Ye’s recent actions and was done acting as a “full-time publicist” for the musician, and was resigning as a moderator.