An Australian government minister has said celebrity rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, could be refused a visa to visit Australia due to anti-Semitic comments.
Australia’s Education Minister Jason Clare was responding on Wednesday to media reports that the US celebrity intended to visit the family of his new Australian partner Bianca Censori in Melbourne next week.
Clare said he did not know if Ye had applied for a visa but that Australia has previously refused entry to people with anti-Semitic views.
“I don’t know if he’s applied for a visa yet but google it and you’ll see that it seems like he’s a pretty big fan of a person who killed six million Jewish people last century,” Clare told the Today show on Australia’s Nine Network television.
“People like that who’ve applied for visas to get into Australia in the past have been rejected. I expect that if he does apply, he would have to go through the same process and answer the same questions they did.”
A spokesperson for Ye did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Seven Network News reported that Ye and Censori intend to visit her family who live in the northeast Melbourne suburb of Ivanhoe next week.
Last month, Ye praised Hitler in an interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Twitter suspended Ye after he tweeted a picture of a swastika merged with the Star of David. Ye has also been dropped by major corporate partners, including Adidas, over his comments.
Australia’s Migration Act sets security and character requirements for non-citizens to enter the country. Any decision on whether Ye gets an Australian visa would be made by Immigration Minister Andrew Giles, whose office said he could not comment on individual cases due to privacy reasons.
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, a male-only group who identify as “Western Chauvinists”, was denied a visa in 2018 after a public campaign that included a petition with 81,000 signatories, according to local media.
Australia’s opposition leader Peter Dutton said if he were in government, he would be inclined to bar Ye on character grounds.
“My inclination would be not to allow him in,” Dutton told Melbourne’s Radio 3AW on Tuesday.
“His conduct and his behaviour is appalling, and he’s not a person of good character,” Dutton said.
The Liberal Party’s David Coleman said on Wednesday the decision to deny Ye a visa should be “easy”.
Peter Wertheim, co-chief executive officer of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, met government officials on Tuesday to argue for Ye’s entry ban.
“We had a sympathetic hearing,” Wertheim said on Sky News.
“We’ve made the case 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 set out our reasons in some detail.”