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Wiley forced to forfeit MBE for ‘bringing honours system into disrepute’

The action comes following pressure from the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

By Will Richards

Wiley receives his MBE (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Wiley has been forced to forfeit his MBE for ‘bringing the honours system into disrepute’, the The Honours Forfeiture Committee has announced.

The grime artist was awarded the honour in 2017 for services to music, but has now had the title stripped, a new list published on the Cabinet Office website has revealed. At the time of the honour, Wiley told PA: “I’m honoured to be receiving an MBE. It feels like the school grade I wanted and didn’t get but now I’m finally there.”

In 2020, Wiley then said that he would happily give up the honour after he was criticised for antisemitic tweets, telling Sky News at the time: “Take it back! I’ve never had that in my possession except for a picture outside Buckingham Palace. Everything that gets done is for [former manager] John Woolf, I ain’t got an award or a plaque or nothing.

“I ain’t got nothing in my yard to show. John Woolf’s got the MBE. I’ve never had the MBE, it’s framed in his house. Now who’s the MBE for, really? Don’t think I was sitting there like ‘Where’s my MBE? Where’s my OBE? I need my knighthood. Where’s my Richard Branson? No.”

Wiley in the official video for 'On A Level'
Wiley – ‘On A Level’ official video. CREDIT: YouTube/Still

The removal of the MBE came after pressure from the Campaign Against Antisemitism. A spokesperson for the organisation said of the news: “Today’s decision marks the culmination of nearly four years of dogged perseverance. We have worked tirelessly to ensure that Wiley faces ruinous consequences for his unhinged antisemitic tirade, for which he has shown no remorse.

“Antisemitism has no place in the arts, and is unbecoming of anyone holding an honour. We commend the Honours Forfeiture Committee for using its powers to hold Wiley to account. In doing so, it is declaring that anti-Jewish racists cannot be role models in our society.”

They added: “Due to technical reasons, including legal action that we are pursuing against Wiley, the forfeiture was delayed. We are grateful to the Honours Forfeiture Committee for its work on this matter.”