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Nets owner says he is 'disappointed' after Kyrie Irving appeared to promote antisemitic film

Irving tweeted a link to the movie “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America," which Rolling Stone magazine said is filled with “antisemitic tropes."
Kyrie Irving.
Kyrie Irving.Justin Ford / Getty Images file

Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai said he is "disappointed" after all-star guard Kyrie Irving appeared to promote a film deemed antisemitic.

"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 Friday. "This is bigger than basketball."

Irving tweeted a link Thursday to the 2018 movie "Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America." It's based on Ronald Dalton's book of the same name.

Rolling Stone magazine said the movie is filled with "antisemitic tropes" and seemingly adopts ideas that are more in line with extreme factions of the Black Hebrew Israelites, which have long been associated with homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, antisemitism, and Islamophobia.

The Anti-Defamation League said the Black Hebrew Israelites are divided into sects that "operate semi-independently."

In a statement Saturday, Irving said meant no disrespect and called himself an "OMNIST," referring to a person who believes in all religions.

"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," he posted on Twitter. "I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions."

The Nets said in a statement earlier Saturday that it strongly condemns and has zero tolerance for the promotion 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," the Nets said.

Irving has not publicly addressed his promotion of the film. The team's next game is Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers.

Over the past week, a number of high-profile figures spoke out against the rise in antisemitic speech after a hate group hung a banner over a busy Los Angeles freeway saying "Kanye is right about the Jews" after the rapper made a string of antisemitic comments on social media.

The remarks led to Twitter and Instagram temporarily restricting Ye's accounts. Several brands, including Adidas, Gap, and Peloton, cut ties with him. On Monday, talent agency CAA confirmed it had stopped presenting Ye, formally known as Kanye West, within the past month but did not specify whether it was due to his comments.