Kanye West—villain or victim?


“Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table,” said Kanye West on December 1st’s episode of Alex Jones’s Infowars podcast. “Especially Hitler.”


Kanye West, now choosing to be known as simply Ye, has always been somewhat of a controversial public figure. However, the past few years have seen him spiraling out of control as he falls deeper into mental illness. 


Concern about Kanye’s mental state has been steadily mounting since the start of his failed 2020 presidential campaign, which saw him emotionally ranting about his pro-life beliefs and tearfully lamenting how he and his now ex-wife Kim Kardashian had almost made the decision to abort their eldest daughter North. 


Two years later, his continuous racist and antisemitic threats posted online — including tweeting out a picture of a Swastika and stating his intentions to go “death con 3” on Jewish people — have led even Kanye’s most die-hard supporters to publicly denounce him. 


Having been stripped of his honorary degree from the Art Institute of Chicago, divorced from his wife, dropped by brand partners Adidas and Gap, and now banned from Twitter, it is clear that Kanye has reached rock bottom. 


It’s also a well-known fact that Kanye struggles with severe bipolar disorder—but does his mental illness excuse his many problematic actions? 


Of course, the fact that Kanye is bipolar should not mean that he has free reign to go around spewing hate all over the internet. However, we should take a step back and see the bigger picture. People like Alex Jones of Infowars, a right-wing conspiracy theorist who is most known for his claims that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax, are clearly exploiting a mentally ill person online for clicks and clout. While episodes of Infowars usually get between 10,000 and 100,000 views, the episode where Kanye claimed to “love” Hitler quickly became Jones’ most popular episode ever, racking up over 3 million views before it was taken down.


We can be disgusted by the things Kanye West has done and still feel empathetic for him. While Kanye has said some abhorrent, unforgivable things, he deserves to get help; it’s equally disgusting that people like Alex Jones are giving him a platform to spread his hateful rhetoric when it’s clear that he’s not in the right state of mind. 


This isn’t just entertainment or “pop culture drama.” Kanye’s behavior encourages and permisses hate and enables negativity and violence.  And we all know the true implications— the real danger— of allowing hatred to go unchecked.