Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving will make a $500,000 donation to groups working to eradicate hate after admitting on Wednesday that a film slammed as anti-semitic which he boosted on social media had a “negative impact” on the Jewish community.
Irving ignited a firestorm of controversy last week after posting a link to the 2018 film “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America” on social media.
The film, based on a 2015 book of the same name, has been widely lambasted for containing a range of anti-semitic tropes.
Nets owner Joe Tsai had criticised Irving’s boosting of the film.
“I’m disappointed that Kyrie appears to support a film based on a book full of anti-Semitic disinformation,” Tsai said.
However Irving had steadfastly refused to apologize for his post, insisting accusations of “anti-semitism” were unfair.
“The ‘antisemitic’ label that is being pushed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or truth I live in everyday,” Irving said on Saturday.
“I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions.”
In a press conference on Sunday, Irving denied his posting a link to the film constituted “promoting” its views.
However after a wave of condemnation from former players and anti-racism campaigners, Irving softened his position on Wednesday.
A joint statement released by Irving, the Nets and the Anti-Defamation League revealed that Irving and Brooklyn would each give $500,000 to anti-hate groups following the controversy.
Irving meanwhile admitted that his post had been ill-judged.
“I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day,” Irving said.
“I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility. I do not believe everything said in the documentary was true or reflects my morals and principles.
“I am a human being learning from all walks of life and I intend to do so with an open mind and a willingness to listen.”
The statement said the $1 million donated by Irving and Brooklyn would be funneled towards “causes and organizations that work to eradicate hate and intolerance in our communities.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League, welcomed the move.
“The best way to fight the oldest hatred is to both confront it head-on and also to change hearts and minds,” Greenblatt said.
“With this partnership, ADL will work with the Nets and Kyrie to open dialogue and increase understanding.”
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