On Thursday afternoon, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving posted a tweet and an Instagram story endorsing a 2018 film, Hebrews to Negroes, described by critics as filled with antisemitic disinformation. The posts included a link to a Amazon page marketing the film.
The postings were followed Friday night by a statement from the Nets condemning, “the promotion of any form of hate speech,” The statement, in response to a NetsDaily response for comment on the endorsement, did not name Irving. Then, a little more than three hours later, Joe Tsai went further. He tweeted more specifically about Irving’s postings, saying he’s “disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of antisemitic disinformation” and suggested the two talk.
The controversy began not long before the Nets lost to the Mavericks Thursday.
Irving has 4.5 million followers on Twitter and 17.5 million on Instagram.
The tweet first caught the attention of Rolling Stone writer Jon Blistein who described the film and the 2015 book on which it is based as “venomously antisemitic” noting that the book included commentary that “many famous high-ranking Jews” have “admitted” to “worship[ing] Satan or Lucifer.”
Specifically, Blistein writes of the film endorsed by Irving:
The 2018 film was directed by Ronald Dalton, Jr., and based upon his 2015 book of the same name. A description for the film states that it “uncovers the true identity of the Children of Israel,” while a similar one for the book reads, “Since the European and Arab slave traders stepped foot into Africa, blacks have been told lies about their heritage.” Both suggest Hebrews to Negroes espouse ideas in line with more extreme factions of the Black Hebrew Israelites, which have a long history of misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and especially antisemitism...
Hebrews to Negroes, the book, contains even more instances of antisemitism. The book’s fourth chapter — “When Did Racism Towards Blacks Start?” — starts by falsely suggesting that anti-Black racism can be traced back to key Jewish texts. “Western Education and Religion tries to teach the world that blacks are cursed with their skin color by the Curse of Ham/Canaan. This is also taught in European Jewish documents and in the teachings of the Talmud book in Judaism. Some can say that it established the base for black racism even before the KKK”...
Another section wonders if there is “any connection” between Lucifer, Satan, Freemasonry, and Judaism and includes the claim, “Interesting enough, in earlier years, many Jews and European Scottish/York Freemasons have claimed that they worship Satan or Lucifer. Many famous high-ranking Jews and Freemasons have written books admitting to this.”
Blistein also points to several quotes in the book advancing Dalton’s theories which have been proven false.
In their response to a request for comment on the Irving postings, the Nets issued a statement at 8:00 p.m. Friday night condemning “the promotion of any form hate speech” without mentioning Irving by name.
“The Brooklyn Nets strongly condemn and have no tolerance for the promotion of any form of hate speech. We believe that in these situations, our first action must be open, honest dialogue. We thank those, including the ADL, who have been supportive during this time.”
A little more than three hours later, Tsai himself tweeted about the issue, specifically mentioning Tsai.
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
This is bigger than basketball— Joe Tsai (@joetsai1999) October 29, 2022
A few hours later, Irving posted a cryptic tweet that may or may not have been in response to Tsai’s earlier postings.
The Light is beginning to Dawn.— Hélà (@KyrieIrving) October 29, 2022
Later, he issued a defense of his actions but left the two social media posts standing...
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
An omnist believes in all religions.
Of course, Irving has, as Blistein notes, been involved in a variety of controversies over the years, “from his recent anti-vaxx skepticism to his curious flat Earth comments a few years ago. At the beginning of October, Irving even shared an old video of Alex Jones railing against the so-called ‘New World Order.’”
The endorsement also comes amidst a rise in antisemitism across the country and the world.
BSE Global, the Nets parent company, did not immediately respond to a NetsDaily text seeking comment on Irving’s tweet.
- Kyrie Irving Boosts Antisemitic Movie Peddling ‘Jewish Slave Ships’ - Jon Blistein - Rolling Stone
- Nets Owner Rebukes Kyrie Irving for Posts About Antisemitic Documentary - Shauntel Love - New York Times
- Nets owner disappointed Irving backed antisemitic work - Brian Mahoney - AP
- Kyrie Irving raises eyebrows with tweet to movie filled with anti-Semitic disinformation - Brian Lewis & Brian Wacker - New York Post
- Nets condemn Kyrie Irving’s promotion of anti-Semitic film - Nick Friedell - ESPN
- Nets condemn Kyrie Irving’s social media posts promoting antisemitic film - Alex Schiffer - The Athletic
- Nets owner condemns Kyrie Irving for promoting film and book with ‘antisemitic disinformation’ - Barbara Barker - Newsday
- Nets’ owner Joe Tsai condemns Kyrie Irving for controversial tweet - James O’Connell - New York Daily News
- Nets owner Joe Tsai expresses disappointment in Kyrie Irving for promoting anti-Semitic film: ‘This is bigger than basketball’ - Alex Smith
- Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai shares disappointment after Kyrie Irving promotes anti-Semitic film - Sam Quinn - CBS Sports
- Nets’ Joe Tsai ‘disappointed’ in Kyrie Irving for promoting antisemitic film: ‘It is wrong to promote hate’ - Nick Schwartz - USA Today
- Nets owner Joe Tsai condemns Kyrie Irving’s tweeting of antisemitic video - Jack Baer - Yahoo! Sports
- Nets issue initial statement on Kyrie Irving’s apparent support of antisemitic film - Jeff Pagaduan - Clutch Points