U.K. Rapper Skepta Apologizes, Removes Single Artwork After Criticism It Evokes Images of the Holocaust

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U.K. rapper Skepta has apologized after allegations surfaced on social media that the artwork for his new single, “Gas Me Up (Diligent),” evoked images of the Holocaust.

Skepta removed the artwork from his social platforms shortly after posting it on Monday. The image showed a shaved head with the words “Gas Me Up” tattooed on it, and received backlash from those on the internet who drew parallels to images of Jewish people during the Holocaust.

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Early Tuesday morning, Skepta posted an apology on X, formerly known as Twitter, and said he had removed the single artwork.

“I’ve been waiting to drop ‘Gas Me Up (Diligent)’ since teasing it April last year, worked hard getting the artwork right for my album rollout which is about my parents coming to the U.K. in the 80’s, Skinhead, Football culture and it has been taken offensively by many,” Skepta wrote. “I can promise you that was definitely not our plan so I have removed it and I vow to be more mindful going forward.”

He later shared a “mood board” he had previously compiled for the single art, consisting of images of skinheads and the logo for 2 Tone Records, an indie ska label which sought to promote racial equality in the music scene in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

“I can honestly see how my single artwork without context can be deemed offensive, especially in a time like this but again that was not my intention,” Skepta said. “But after some thought I don’t feel like I could continue being the artist you all know and love if my art is policed, I have to quit if I can’t express my art as I see it. So to help with context here are some pictures from our mood board for the 1980’s U.K. story for my album ‘Knife & Fork.'”

“Gas Me Up (Diligent)” is set to release on Jan. 26.

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