Kyrie Irving is a legend in basketball and infamous for his controversial posts and comments—(a few years ago he claimed that the earth was flat) the latest being his support for a “venomously anti-Semitic” book and movie called “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.”
Last week, Irving, a star on the Brooklyn Nets team, tweeted and posted on Instagram a page from Amazon, advertising and endorsing the 2018 film.
The film’s Amazon description states that it “uncovers the true identity of the Children of Israel by proving the true ethnicity of Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, the Sons of Ham, Shem & Japheth. Find out what Islam, Judaism and Christianity has covered up for centuries in regards to the true biblical identity of the so-called Negro in this movie packed with tons of research.”
The book’s description is similar (according to Rolling Stone): “Since the European and Arab slave traders stepped foot into Africa, blacks have been told lies about their heritage,” and the book claims that “many famous high-ranking Jews” have “admitted” to “worship[ing] Satan or Lucifer.”
“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 [Anti-Defamation League], who have been supportive during this time,” a spokesman for the Nets said in a statement.
The Nets owner Joe Tsai personally weighed in, tweeting:
“I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of antisemitic 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. This is bigger than basketball.”
The movie and book seem to be rooted in the Black Hebrew Israelites movement, which is known for being hateful to just about every group you can think of, including women, Jews, and Muslims (and many more)—even though it has “Hebrew” and “Israelite” in the title—go figure? Years ago I was working in Manhattan with Dr. Michael Brown when he was my professor in Bible school. We came across a group of Black Hebrew Israelites and they were spewing the most hateful, racist things I think I’ve ever heard. I was pretty amazed that Dr. Brown engage them pretty aggressively, as I recall that they were promoting violence.
Irving did issue an non-apology.
“I didn’t mean to cause any harm,” Irving said. “I’m not the one that made the documentary.”
Yes, you’re just the basketball player with millions of followers and social media who promoted the documentary! You’re just the one who legitimized hateful, violent racism.
After a second press conference where he did not apologize, the Brooklyn Nets suspended him indefinitely. Apparently that got the future Hall of Famer’s attention and he finally issued a real apology on Instagram.
He admitted that there were “some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion,” and said he takes “full accountability and responsibility for my actions.” Irving goes on to say, “To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize.”
This isn’t the first time Irving has been in hot water. In September, he shared a 20-year-old conspiracy video about the New World Order by Alex Jones—yes that Alex Jones, the racist conspiracy theorist, who has just been ordered to pay over $1 billion in damages to Sandy Hook parents.