Kyrie Irving Apologizes For Posting Link To Anti-Semitic Film

Kyrie Irving Apologizes For Posting Link To Anti-Semitic Film

On Thursday night, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving apologized to the Jewish community for a retweet of a link to a virulently anti-Semitic film.

Irving had been suspended by the team earlier on Thursday for at least five games for failing to “unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs.”

The problems for Irving started when he shared a link to his millions of followers of a film called “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” on October 27. After backlash ensued, Irving tweeted, “The ‘Anti-Semitic’ label that is being pushed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or truth I live in everyday,” and deleted the original tweet, but didn’t apologize.

On October 28, Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai posted a statement in which he stated, “I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-semitic disinformation. I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion.”

I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-semitic disinformation. I want to sit down and make sure he understands this is hurtful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it is wrong to promote hate based on race, ethnicity or religion.

— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) October 29, 2022

After the Nets’ game on October 29, Irving was asked at a press conference about his “promotion” of the movie though his tweet. He responded, “Will you please stop calling it a promotion? What am I promoting?”

“You put it out on your platform,” the reporter suggested.

“I put it out there just like you put things out there, right?’ Irving declared. “Let’s move on. Don’t dehumanize me up here. … I don’t have to understand anything from you.”

The NBA issued a statement after Irving’s remarks, saying:

Hate speech of any kind is unacceptable and runs counter to the NBA’s values of equality, inclusion and respect. We believe we all have a role to play in ensuring such words or ideas, including antisemitic ones, are challenged and refuted and we will continue working with all members of the NBA community to ensure that everyone understands the impact of their words and actions.

The NBA issued the following statement: pic.twitter.com/vuTVhEegeh

— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) October 29, 2022

 

Yesterday, Irving spoke after the team’s practice, refusing to apologize, saying, “I’m not the one who made the documentary,” while adding, “I cannot be antisemitic if I know where I come from.”

The Nets then suspended Irving for five games, stating:

Over the last several days, we have made repeated attempts to work with Kyrie Irving to help him understand the harm and danger of his words and actions, which began with him publicizing a film containing deeply disturbing antisemitic hate. We believed that taking the path of education in this challenging situation would be the right one and thought that we had made progress with our joint commitment to eradicating hate and intolerance.

We were dismayed today, when given an opportunity in a media session, that Kyrie refused to unequivocally say he has no antisemitic beliefs, nor acknowledge specific hateful material in the film. This was not the first time he had the opportunity — but failed — to clarify.”

Such failure to disavow antisemitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply disturbing, is against the values of our organization, and constitutes conduct detrimental to the team. Accordingly, we are of the view that he is currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets.

Irving issued a statement on Instagram Thursday night in which he apologized:

While doing research on YHWH, I posted a Documentary that contained some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion, and I take full accountability and responsibly for my actions.

I am grateful to have a big platform to share knowledge and I want to move forward by having an open dialogue to learn more and grow from this. To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize.

I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the Documentary.

I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against Anti- semticism by apologizing for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the Documentary I agreed with and disagreed with. I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate. I am learning from this unfortunate event and hope we can find understanding between us all. I am no different than any other human being.

I am a seeker of truth and knowledge, and I know who I Am.

The anti-Semitic film “includes extensive antisemitism, including claims of a global Jewish conspiracy to oppress and defraud Black people, allegations that Jews are in part responsible for the transatlantic slave trade and the claim that Jews falsified the history of the Holocaust in order to ‘conceal their nature and protect their status and power,’” the Anti-Defamation League notes.

“The film also amplifies longstanding antisemitic tropes about Jewish power, control and greed, including false claims that Jews control the media, and disputes the identity of modern Jews, claiming they are ‘religious converts’ who descended from the Khazars and have no historical connection to the land of Israel.”

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