A group of Jewish fans in attendance at the Nets-Pacers game in Brooklyn sat courtside wearing shirts that read “Fight Antisemitism” as Kyrie Irving continues to face backlash from his promotion of an antisemitic documentary, without context, on his Twitter account, which has 4.6 million followers.
Irving listed a link to a 2018 documentary “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” based on a book that uses misinformation and espouses antisemitic messaging.
According to Ethan Schorr, Irving went over to the fans during the game and said, “grateful for you guys.”
Irving has faced swift backlash from his promotion of the documentary, including from the Anti-Defamation League, the NBA, the Nets and the team’s owner, Joe Tsai, said he was disappointed in Irving’s promotion of the documentary.
This is bigger than basketball— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) October 29, 2022
“The Brooklyn Nets strongly condemn and have no tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech,” the Nets said in a statement Friday. “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.”
Irving said on Twitter he is not antisemitic and that it does not accurately reflect his life, and said he wanted to “learn from all walks of life and religions.”
I am an OMNIST and I 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. I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions.— Hélà (@KyrieIrving) October 29, 2022
In a Saturday press conference, he continued to defend his decision to post the link as he began to get more contentious over his position.
“Did I do anything illegal? Did I hurt anybody?” Irving said. “Did I harm anybody? Am I going out and saying that I hate one specific group of people?”
Kyrie Irving addresses the backlash to his recent social media posts after Saturday night's game in Brooklyn. pic.twitter.com/tSuxGrNbbM— YES Network (@YESNetwork) October 30, 2022
Irving’s response at his news conference also drew backlash for what some called ‘tone deaf.’