Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving doubles down after promoting antisemitic film

NEW YORK — Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving doubled down Saturday night after sharing social media posts about a film full of antisemitic tropes two days earlier.

Irving posted about the film on his Twitter and Instagram accounts on Thursday, after which the Nets organization, team owner Joe Tsai and the NBA itself all issued statements saying that they are opposed to hate speech. 

“I’m not going to stand down on anything that I believe in,” Irving said at Barclays Center Saturday night after the Nets’ 125-116 loss to the Indiana Pacers. “I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me.” 

On the film, “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America,” Irving said: “We’re in 2022. It’s on Amazon, public platform. Whether you want to go watch it or not is up to you. There’s things being posted every day. I’m no different than the next human being, so don’t treat me any different. You come in here and make up this powerful influence that I have over the top [and say], ‘You cannot post that.’ Why not? Why not? Everybody posts everything else.”

He also said: “I’m in a unique position to have a level of influence on my community and what I post does not mean that I support everything that’s being said or anything that’s being done, or I’m campaigning for anything. All I do is post things for my people and my community and those that it’s actually going to impact. Anyone else that has criticism, it obviously wasn’t meant for them.”

Saturday’s postgame press conference also found Irving addressing a six-week-old post, in which the Nets guard posted a 20-year-old clip of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones talking about the “New World Order.” On the clip, which is full of misinformation and originated on community access television, Irving said that it is “about secret societies in America, of occults. And it’s true.”

Irving also said that he “does not stand with Alex Jones’ position” on the Sandy Hook tragedy. On Oct. 12, a Connecticut jury ordered Jones to pay $965 million in damages for Jones’ repeated claims that the 20 first graders and six educators who were gunned down in 2012 was a “giant hoax” perpetrated by anti-gun crisis actors.

“Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” is a 2018 film directed by Ronald Dalton Jr., based on Dalton’s 2015 book of the same name. In the film, Dalton, its narrator, pushes antisemitic conspiracy theories, lamenting at one point that schools don’t teach children about “Jewish slave ships,” as explained by Rolling Stone. 

Irving said repeatedly that he is “not here to be divisive.” He said he watched the film at home while getting ready for Thursday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, and that he likes to watch programming that “talks about history or finance, talks about the state of the world.” He said that he had “a lot of time last year to read,” referencing the fact that he did not play for the majority of the 2021-22 season because he did not get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

“I’m all over the place when it comes to really elevating my consciousness,” said Irving, 30. “Because I didn’t get it in school. All I did was get seven hours a day being indoctrinated and brainwashed on a history that doesn’t belong to me or my ancestors.”

Irving asked, rhetorically, if he did anything illegal, hurt anybody or harmed anybody by posting about the film. He asked, rhetorically, whether he is “going out and saying that I hate one specific group of people.” He claimed that he found the film because “my name translates into the Hebrew language as Yahweh” and he searched for “Yahweh” on Amazon Prime. 

“I went in the search bar, typed in ‘Yahweh,’ that came up,” Irving said. “Went out and shared it on my platform.”

Before taking issue with a reporter using the word “promoting” to describe his posts about the antisemitic film and Jones, Irving said that it is “just funny” and “actually hilarious” that, back in September, “of all the things I posted that day, that [Jones clip] was the one post that everyone chose to see. It just goes back to the way our world is and works. I’m not here to complain about it. I just exist.”

Irving told the reporter, “I put it out there, just like you put things out there. Right? You put things out there for a living, right? Great, so let’s move on.”

The reporter responded, “My stuff is not filled with antisemitic stuff.” 

“Let’s move on,” Irving repeated. “Don’t dehumanize me up here. I can post whatever I want.” 

As Irving walked out of the interview room, he said to the reporter, “I wish we cared more about Black reproductive rights and all the things that actually matter than what I’m posting. Change your life, bro.”

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