Kyrie Irving: Brooklyn Nets star defends tweet about anti-Semitic documentary, shares Alex Jones video
On Thursday, the star guard tweeted a link to the 2018 film “Black Hebrews: Black America Awakens,” which is based on Ronald Dalton’s book of the same name. Rolling Stone described the book and film as “filled with anti-Semitic imagery”.
In a postgame press conference after the Nets lost to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, Irving defended his decision to post a link to the documentary.
“As for the reaction, we are in 2022, history should not be hidden from anyone and I am not a divisive person when it comes to religion, I accept all walks of life,” he said.
“So the claims of anti-Semitism and who are the original chosen people of God and we get into those religious conversations and it’s a big no, no, I don’t live my life that way.”
Several organizations condemned Irving’s tweet, including the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the NBA, the Brooklyn Nets and Nets owner Joe Tsai.
“I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to be endorsing a movie based on a book full of anti-Semitic misinformation,” Nets owner Joe Tsai tweeted Friday night.
“I want to sit down and make sure he understands that this is harmful to all of us, and as a man of faith, it’s wrong to promote hatred based on race, ethnicity or religion.”
Tsai added, “This is bigger than basketball.”
Irving said at the press conference that he “respects what Joe [Tsai] he said,” but claimed he didn’t tweet anything harmful.
“Did I do something illegal? Did I hurt someone, did I hurt someone? Do I come out and say I hate a certain group of people?”
“It’s on Amazon, a public platform, whether you watch it or not, it’s up to you,” Irving said. “There are things that are published every day. I am no different than the next human being, so don’t treat me any differently.”
CNN reached out to Amazon for comment but did not receive a response at the time of publication.
At the same time, Irving acknowledged his “unique position” to influence his community, but said “what I’m posting doesn’t mean I’m endorsing everything that’s being said or everything that’s being done or standing for anything.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, executive director of the Anti-Defamation League, ua tweet on Friday, calling Irving’s social media post “disturbing.”
“A book and film that promotes the trafficking of deeply #anti-Semitic themes, including those promoted by the dangerous sects of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement. Irving should clarify now.”
The Nets also spoke out against the star guard’s tweet.
“The Brooklyn Nets strongly condemn and have zero tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech,” the team said in a statement to CNN.
“We believe that in situations like this, our first action must be an open, honest dialogue. We thank those, including the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), who have supported us during this time.”
The NBA released a statement saying, “Hate speech of any kind is unacceptable and goes against the NBA’s values of equality, inclusion and respect.
“We believe we all have a role to play in ensuring that such words or ideas, including anti-Semitic, are challenged and refuted and we will continue to work with all members of the NBA community to ensure that everyone understands the impact of their words and actions. ”
Rolling Stone, meanwhile, said the film and book included ideas consistent with some “extreme factions” within the Black Hebrew Israelite movement that expressed anti-Semitic and other discriminatory sentiments.
During the press conference, Irving was also asked about his decision to share a video made by far-right talk show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who was recently ordered to pay nearly $1 billion in restitution to Sandy Hook families for his lies about the massacre.
Irving clarified that he disagreed with Jones’ false claims that the Sandy Hook shooting was staged, but stood by Jones’ September post “about secret societies in America’s occult,” which Irving believes is “true.”
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