Brooklyn Nets condemn Kyrie Irving for promotion of antisemitic film

Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets handles the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks in Game Two of the Second Round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center on June 07, 2021 in New York City.
Steven Ryan | Getty Images

After Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving promoted an antisemitic film and book on social media Thursday, his team and team-owner Joe Tsai issued statements Friday condemning his actions.

“I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-semitic disinformation,” Tsai wrote on Twitter. “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.”

Irving posted a tweet Thursday linking to an Amazon page for the movie “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” which is “stuffed with antisemitic tropes,” according to an earlier report from Rolling Stone. The movie was released in 2018 and is based on a 2015 book by the same name.

The Nets condemned Irving’s actions in a statement Friday.

“The Brooklyn Nets strongly condemn and have no tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech,” the team said in the statement. “We believe that in these situations, our first action must be open, honest dialogue. We thank those, including the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), who have been supportive during this time.”

In a tweet on Saturday, Irving said he “meant no disrespect to anyone’s religious beliefs.”

“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,” he wrote. “I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions.”

He has not removed his original tweet.

Irving’s post on Thursday follows a series of antisemitic comments made by Ye, the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, in recent weeks. Adidas, Gap, Foot Locker and other organizations have since cut ties with Ye and cost him his billionaire status.

The Anti-Defamation League, StopAntisemistism and the International Legal Forum applauded the move by Adidas on Tuesday.

Irving was previously benched by the Nets in 2021 for refusing to get vaccinated against Covid-19. It is unclear whether his social media post will impact his ability to play.

The Nets will play the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

Sophie Tremblay

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