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Petition calls on School of the Art Institute to revoke Kanye West's honorary degree after antisemitic remarks

Petition calls on Art Institute to rescind Kanye West's honorary doctorate
Petition calls on Art Institute to rescind Kanye West's honorary doctorate 00:25

CHICAGO (CBS/AP) -- A new petition is calling on the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to rescind the honorary doctorate given to Kanye West.

This comes after antisemitic marks he has made, up to and including praising Hitler.

As of Tuesday evening, more than 2,100 people had signed the petition launched by the group Against Hate at SAIC on

The School of the Art Institute awarded Ye – as he is now known – an honorary doctorate in 2015.

"This award bestows the legitimacy and luster of the School on a figure who has in recent months has made repeated public statements expressing and justifying anti-Semitism," the petition read. "Regardless of his contributions prior to receipt of this award, it is harmful to allow Ye, as he is presently known, to continue to use the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to help legitimize hatred and violence."

The petition said the association between Ye and the Art Institute is harmful to artists, designers, and scholars affiliated with the school, the Jewish community, and all oppressed peoples – "who stand to suffer when intimidation and deadly violence against people on the basis of their identity are made justifiable."

The petition calls on Elissa Tenny, president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, to rescind Ye's honorary degree immediately.

Before becoming a famous rapper, West attended college for painting, then English. He did not attend the School of the Art Institute – he first attended the American Academy of Art, then Chicago State University. He dropped out at 20, releasing his monstrously successful debut album four years later.

In 2018, Ye claimed in a tweet that he was going to be teaching a course at the Art Institute and the American Academy of Art – but both those institutions were quick to say there were not really any such plans, and he never went on to teach any such courses.

In recent weeks, Ye has made a series of antisemitic comments. Last week, he praised Hitler in an interview Thursday with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. 

The same day, Elon Musk tweeted Ye's Twitter account was suspended for violating the company's rules against incitement to violence after an antisemitic tweet.

The rapper's comments led to his suspension from social media platforms, his talent agency dropping him and a handful of companies like Adidas cutting ties with him. Adidas has also launched an investigation into his conduct. 

Several former Yeezy employees of the sportswear company alleged that Ye created a toxic work environment by showing sexual photos and videos in meetings, making vulgar comments and bullying the people who worked for him. All the former employees spoke to Rolling Stone Magazine on condition of anonymity.

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