From the Crikey grapevine, the latest tips and rumours…

God, this is Icke-y. Few things capture the bleak absurdity of 2018 than the news that Alice Walker, acclaimed African-American novelist, feminist icon and civil rights activist, has been red-pilled. In a recent New York Times interview, Walker recommended anti-Semitic conspiracy-theorist David Icke’s And the Truth Shall Set You Free as one of the books on her nightstand. A former mediocre English professional footballer and TV presenter, Icke’s unhinged ramblings include the belief that Earth is controlled by a cabal of shape-shifting extra-terrestrial reptiles, the Holocaust was possibly made up, and that Jewish organisations were secretly responsible for slavery, the US Civil War and the Ku Klux Klan.

Walker’s admiration for Icke goes back as far as 2013, when, on a BBC Radio program, she named another of Icke’s tomes as her choice if she could only read one book. But how did a literary legend like Walker fall in with a crank like Icke? Her YouTube history might give us a clue. In a bizarre poem published on her website last year titled To Study the Talmud, Walker urges the reader to start with YouTube in order to understand the “poison” of the Jewish holy text. YouTube has come under fire this year for being a breeding ground for radicalisation with critics arguing its algorithm is built to recommend more extreme, conspiratorial videos. Clearly, Walker was not immune. "Some of what you find will sound too crazy to be true. Unfortunately those bits are likely to be true", Walker writes, before continuing on a thinly veiled anti-Semitic ramble more reminiscent of Alex Jones than a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.