Victorian minister responds to calls to deny Kanye West visa to enter Australia

"He has a long standing history of bigotry and provocation", Ben Carroll said, amid reports West is planning a trip to Melbourne next week

Victoria’s Industry Minister, Ben Carroll, has responded to calls for Kanye West’s visa to be denied, ahead of the rapper’s reported trip to Melbourne next week. 

Earlier this month, it was reported that West was intending to visit the city to meet the family of his rumoured new wife, Bianca Censori, who is originally from Melbourne. Responding to the reports yesterday (January 23),  Dvir Abramovich – chairman the Jewish-Australian Anti-Defamation Commission – called for West to be denied entry into the country, citing the rapper’s series of antisemitic comments in late 2022.

In a statement shared with NME, Abramovich urged Australian Immigration Minister Andrew Giles to exercise his powers in barring West’s Australian visit. Abramovich said West’s previous comments would constitute a failure of the “character tests” used by the Immigration office when deciding whether an overseas traveller’s visa is refused.

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“Calling for violence and hate must have consequences”, Abramovich said. “Australia should not put out the welcome mat and provide a platform to a hatemonger who spews threats against the Jewish community and peddles conspiracy myths about Jewish power, greed and control.”

Now Carroll has joined the fray, saying today (January 24) that West’s “extremist” views do not “represent Melbourne or Victoria”. Per The West Australian, the Industry Minister said the rapper “holds some very extremist views” and has “a long standing history of provocation”. While Carroll discussed West’s past remarks, he said that the rapper’s immigration is ultimately “a matter for the Commonwealth”.

He continued: “We know he has a long standing history of bigotry and provocation and I know the Commonwealth will process accordingly.” A government spokesperson told The West Australian that the details of West’s Australian visit and visa status cannot be disclosed due to “privacy”.

Throughout the last three months of 2022, West’s antisemitic sentiments included an October tweet declaring “death con 3 on Jewish people”, an interview for Drink Champs where he claimed the Jewish people “owned the Black voice”, and an appearance on InfoWars where he repeatedly praised Adolf Hitler. “I am a Nazi”, West said on the Alex Jones-hosted episode last month, while falsely claiming it was “factually incorrect” that six million Jewish people were killed in the Holocaust.

West faced a range of professional consequences in the wake of his comments. Fashion brand Balenciaga cut its ties with the rapper, while Gap removed his Yeezy products from its stores.  In October, Adidas ended its long-running partnership with West.

Carroll joins a chorus of figures to denounce West’s comments. John Legend, Eric AndréDiddy and Pusha T all criticised the rapper in the wake of his remarks, alongside the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis, Diane Warren and Jack Antonoff.

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