A prominent tech businessman and Utah Republican Party donor has quit the board of the company he founded after sending a conspiracy theory-filled mass email to prominent businesspeople and politicians around the state.
David Bateman, founder of property management software maker Entrata, resigned from its board of directors Tuesday, according to a tweet from its CEO Adam Edmunds.
Edmunds said Bateman's opinions "were his alone," did not reflect Entrata's views and condemned antisemitism "in any and all forms."
Bateman did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment, but in text messages to Salt Lake City television station Fox 13, which first reported the story, he confirmed that he authored the email.
"Yes. I sent it. I have nothing but love for the Jewish people. Some of my closest friends are Jews," Bateman texted Fox 13.
The email, sent Tuesday morning from his Entrata.com account, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, falsely claimed among other things that Pope Francis is Jewish and part of a plot to control the Catholic Church, which Bateman connected to part of a broader "extermination" plan, linked to the coronavirus pandemic and vaccines, to create a single totalitarian world government.
Clint Betts, co-founder of Utah tech organization Silicon Slopes, tweeted, “Dave’s email was insane, intolerant, and anti-semitic. It is not representative of Silicon Slopes or the inclusive community so many in this state are trying to build.”
"I know, it sounds bonkers," Bateman wrote in the note addressed to — among others — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and Utah Senate Democratic Minority Whip Luz Escamilla.
Cox, a Republican, tweeted, “These irresponsible comments are hurtfully anti-Semitic, blatantly false, and we completely reject them.”
“I get insane emails like this from people often and normally wouldn’t dignify it with a response, but I guess it’s getting lots attention. I hope he gets some help,” the governor said.
Escamilla said she was "shocked and surprised" by Bateman's comments.
She said Bateman's comments on vaccines and Covid were out of line with her experiences working with the state's tech community, but that in the state legislature, Republicans are "driving the policies related to anti-vaccination and anti-masking."
"The bills are very clear, the voting record is very clear," Escamilla said.
"I was disgusted to read this flaming pile of garbage of a letter," tweeted Avremi Zippel, a prominent Utah rabbi.
The Utah Democratic Party said in a statement that Bateman "has given hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of support to the Utah GOP."
"We call on them to publicly condemn and disavow his comments, and return the $55,000 of donations that Entrata has directly given the party since 2017."
The Utah Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment but in a Facebook post condemned Bateman's comments, which it said come from a "former member" of the party.
"Antisemitism has no place in this party or in our country," the party wrote. "It should never be tolerated and is condemned in the strongest way possible.
The Utah Republican Party said Bateman does not speak on its behalf and does not reside in Utah.
Bateman bailed the UTGOP out of nearly a half-million dollars of debt in 2018, the Salt Lake Tribune reported at the time, and reportedly moved to Puerto Rico.