Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving said he “wouldn’t back down from anything I believe in” after he was condemned by his NBA team owner for tweeting a link to a documentary deemed anti-Semitic.
The star guard tweeted a link Thursday to the 2018 film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which is based on Ronald Dalton’s book of the same name. Rolling Stone described the book and film as “full of anti-Semitic tropes”.
In a tense post-game press conference following the Nets’ loss to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday, Irving defended his decision to post a link to the documentary.
“As for the backlash, it’s 2022, the story is not supposed to be hidden from anyone and I’m not a divisive person when it comes to religion, I embrace all walks of life,” he said. he declares.
“So the claims of anti-Semitism and who God’s first elect are and we get into these 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 supporting a movie based on a book full of anti-Semitic misinformation,” Nets owner Joe Tsai said. tweeted Friday night.
“I want to sit down and make sure he understands that it hurts us all and that as a man of faith it is wrong to promote hatred based on race, ethnicity or religion.”
Tsai added, “It’s bigger than basketball.”
Irving said at the press conference that he “respects what Joe [Tsai] said,” but claimed he hadn’t tweeted anything harmful.
“Did I do something illegal? Did I hurt anybody, did I hurt anybody? Do I come out and say I hate a specific group of people? »
“It’s on Amazon, a public platform, whether you want to go watch it or not is up to you,” Irving said. “There are things posted every day. I’m no different from the next human being, so don’t treat me any different.
CNN has asked Amazon for comment but, at the time of publication, had not received a response.
At the same time, Irving acknowledged his “unique position” to influence his community, but said that “what I post does not mean that I support everything that is said or done or that I campaign for anything”.
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, in a Tweeter Irving’s social media post on Friday was called “disturbing.”
“The book and film it promotes deal with deeply #anti-Semitic themes, including those promoted by dangerous sects of the Black Hebrew Israelites 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 these situations, our first action should be open and 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 ones, are challenged and refuted and we will continue to work with all members of the NBA community to ensure everyone understands the impact of their words and actions.”
Rolling Stone, meanwhile, said the film and book included ideas consistent with certain “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 created by far-right talk show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who was recently ordered to pay nearly a billion dollars in damages to the families of Sandy Hook 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 sharing Jones’ message in September “about secret societies in Occult America”, which Irving believed to be “true”.