Last Updated on October 31, 2022
Kyrie Irving got into a heated exchange with a reporter who questioned recent social media posts that referenced a documentary deemed antisemitic. Irving — who previously drew the ire of sports media after he refused to comply with NYC’s vaccine mandate — was publicly chastised by Nets owner Joe Tsai for referencing a documentary titled, Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America.
“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,” Tsai tweeted. “This is bigger than basketball.”
Tsai’s tweet referenced an Instagram story from Kyrie Irving in which the star point-guard shared a link to a movie. The movie claims to explore “the true identity of the Children of Israel,” according to the Amazon synopsis of the film.
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
During a post-game conference after the struggling Nets lost to the Indiana Pacers, Irving was asked about the controversy. “We’re in 2022. History is not supposed to be hidden from anybody and I’m not a divisive person when it comes to religion,” Irving said. “I embrace all walks of life.”
“I’m not going to stand down on anything I believe in. I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me,” Irving continued.
A reporter went on to ask Kyrie Irving about an Alex Jones video about the “new world order” that he recently shared on social media. The increasingly frustrated Nets star responded by saying that he does not agree with Jones on everything, including Sandy Hook, but went on to reassert that he has the right to post whatever he wants.
“My post was a post from Alex Jones that he did in the early ‘90s or late ’90s about secret societies in America, of occults, and it’s true,” Irving told ESPN reporter Nick Friedell. “So, I wasn’t identifying with anything, being a campaignist (sic) for Alex Jones or anything. Just there to post. And it’s funny, it’s actually hilarious because out of all the things I posted that day that was the one post 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.”
He was then asked about his Instagram story and took issue with Friedell claiming he “promoted” the movie. “Can you please stop calling it a promotion? What am I promoting?” Irving asked.
“You put it out on your platform,” Friedell replied, arguing that Irving should be held to a higher standard because of his star power. “Yeah I put it out there, just like you put things out there right? You put things out there for a living right?”
The two continued to go back-and-forth, with the reporter admitting that he does post to social media as part of his job, but asserting that his stuff is not “filled with antisemitic stuff.”
“Don’t dehumanize me up here,” Irving said, finished with the line of questioning. “I’m another human being, I can post whatever I want. So say that, shut it down, and move up to the next question.”
Friedell then told Irving that he “has to understand” that his platform has more power, to which Irving said “I don’t have to understand anything from you bro.”
The heated conversation continued for another 10 seconds or so. Irving told the reporter that he got his “Instagram clip” while asking for a question about basketball.
Kyrie Irving shuts down a hack reporter.
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) October 31, 2022
Kyrie Irving has found himself as the target of criticism due to the ongoing de-platforming of hip-hop legend Kanye West. Ye praised Irving for pushing back against media framing in an Instagram story.