Jonah Hill Has Changed Kanye West’s Mind

Kanye West says watching Jonah Hill in 21 Jump Street caused him to "like Jewish people again."

By Kevin C. Neece | Updated

channing tatum movie
21 Jump Street

After viewing 21 Jump Street, starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum, Kanye West claims to have been cured of his anti-Semitism. It’s not especially clear how the film had such an impact on West, but Deadline reports that the rapper posted on Instagram saying Hill’s performance had caused him to “like Jewish people again.” West has recently been hit with a near collapse of his career as he has lost business deals and endorsements, enduring widespread criticism, a Twitter suspension, and major financial losses after repeated public statements expressing hatred toward Jewish people.

Whatever role Jonah Hill played in Kanye West’s apparent turnaround, we’re left to wonder what impact this will have on the string of anti-Semitic incidents that have been documented using the slogan “Ye is right.” In addition to drawing fire from media, fans, and others, West’s remarks against the Jewish community have also sparked a continued uptick in anti-Jewish sentiment and rhetoric. As with most of the star’s erratic and inscrutable behavior, it’s unclear why West—a self-proclaimed Christian—even began on the topic.

kanye west

Indeed, after his Jonah Hill-inspired reformation, Kanye West himself pointed to Christian faith as a reason to reject anti-Semitic views, stating in his Instagram post that Jesus was Jewish. But his wording was somewhat confusing as he stated that, because of Jesus’ Jewishness, “No Christian can be labeled [an] antisemite [sic].” Clearly, many who have claimed Christianity as their religion, including West, have indeed been anti-Semitic, and Jesus’ Jewishness alone does not absolve them—or him—of that label.

West likely means that no Christian should be anti-Semitic for this reason, which again leads to puzzlement as to why Jonah Hill’s movie and not some spiritual revelation would change his mind. Kanye West is nothing if not mercurial, though, and it is conceivable that something seemingly superficial could cause him to adopt a whole new mindset. In his statement, he said that the actions of one or two persons should not inspire hatred toward an entire people group, though apparently, the actions of one Jewish actor in an action-comedy movie are a perfectly valid reason to start liking Jews again after having inexplicably decided to hate them.

Even more strange is that Jonah Hill has not been connected solely with Kanye West in relation to anti-Semitism. Earlier this year, he had a starring role in an Eddie Murphy film that itself was criticized for its perceived anti-Jewish sentiment. You People was blasted online for portraying a Jewish family as, according to comedian David Bladdiel, not only white and privileged, but racist.

So far, Jonah Hill has not responded to the revelation from Kanye West, whose actions have possibly even gotten him banned from his wife’s home country of Australia. Hill might not feel the need to do so, since nothing in 21 Jump Street even addresses anti-Semitism and West’s post could merely be a stab at regaining his career after what must have been a sobering fall. Whether a sign of desperation or conversion, it will take a lot more than an Instagram post to begin to repair the damage West has done, not just to himself, but to the Jewish community.