Jewish Groups Urge Amazon to Remove Antisemitic Film, Book Promoted by Kyrie Irving

E-commerce giant Amazon is facing public pressure from Jewish groups to remove an anti-Semitic book and its accompanying movie promoted by Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving on social media.

Irving posted a tweet on Oct. 27 — which has since been deleted — with a link to the documentary Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black Americawhich includes Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories about Jews.

The Anti-Defamation League and the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets sent a letter to Amazon on Friday to address the “deeply and unequivocally anti-Semitic” documentary and related book at the heart of Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving’s suspension.

“The book and film were designed to incite hatred, and now that it was popularized by Mr. Irving, it will lead directly to the harm of Jews,” the letter reads, according to The Washington Post.

“These views are not different views of history, they are outright anti-Semitic hatred,” the letter said. “They reinforce long-standing anti-Semitic tropes of Jewish power, greed and claims that Jews control the media.”

In response, Amazon said it was working with the ADL to explore adding a disclaimer to the film, according to The New York Times.

Cory Shields, a spokesman for Amazon, told the outlet that the potential disclaimer would appear on the documentary’s main details page, which viewers would see before buying or renting the film. A similar note would possibly be added to a page where customers could purchase the book on which the film is based.

The book and companion film focus on the false idea that the true descendants of the ancient Israelites are modern-day African-Americans, and that modern-day Jews are fraudulently claiming this ancestry. It also contains a number of other anti-Semitic claims, including Holocaust denial and the false claim that Jews controlled the American slave trade, according to The Times of Israel.

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The business noted that as long as the film remains on Amazon’s platform, the company continues to collect half of the purchase price and distribute the other half to the filmmaker.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC), one of the oldest Jewish advocacy organizations in the United States, has launched a petition calling on Amazon to remove both the film and the book from its website.

“Amazon has a critical role to play in ensuring that Americans are not consumed by hateful propaganda and misinformation,” the petition states. “We are grateful that as recently as January of this year, Amazon removed more than twenty Nazi propaganda films and other anti-Semitic content to stop the spread of hate. We urge you to act quickly and remove this film and book from your platform.”

Ted Deutch, CEO of the AJC, tweeted about the petition, writing “anti-Semitic content is now on Amazon’s bestseller lists.”

“The story is familiar by now: Kyrie Irving shared anti-Semitic content on social media and has since been suspended. What’s not so familiar: This anti-Semitic content is now on Amazon’s bestseller lists. Sign @AJCGlobal’s petition and tell @Amazon that hate is not for sale .”

The fallout from Irving’s tweet linking the anti-Semitic material came in a wave. On October 29, Nets owner Joe Tsai tweeted about Irving, adding, “This is bigger than basketball.”

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“I am disappointed that Kyrie appears to be endorsing a movie based on a book full of anti-Semitic disinformation,” Tsai wrote. “I want to sit down and make sure he understands that this is hurtful to all of us and as a man of faith it is wrong to promote hatred based on race, ethnicity or religion.”

Irving first defended his right to post whatever he wants on social media during a contentious postgame interview session on Oct. 29.

“We’re in 2022. History shouldn’t be hidden from anybody, and I’m not a divisive person when it comes to religion,” Irving said during a tense postgame news conference. “I embrace all walks of life.”

The NBA issued a statement over the weekend that did not name Irving but condemned all forms of hate speech. Fans wearing “Fight Antisemitism” shirts occupied some courtside seats at the Brooklyn-Indiana game on Oct. 31, the day after he removed the tweet.

On Wednesday, Irving said he is against all forms of hate, and he and the Nets announced they would each donate $500,000 to groups working to eradicate it. Silver then issued a new statement calling on Irving by name to apologize, and Irving refused to give a direct answer when asked Thursday if he has anti-Semitic beliefs.

Then on Thursday, the Nets suspended Irving and ruled him out without pay for at least five games after he refused to issue an apology.

“We were dismayed today when given an opportunity in a media session that Kyrie refused to state unequivocally that he has no anti-Semitic beliefs, nor specifically acknowledges hateful material in the film. It was not the first time he had the opportunity — but failed — to clarify,” the Nets said in a statement.

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“Such a failure to reject anti-Semitism when given a clear opportunity to do so is deeply troubling, goes against the values ​​of our organization and constitutes behavior that is detrimental to the team. Therefore, we believe that he in is currently inappropriate to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets,” the statement continued.

Irving finally later apologized in an Instagram post for not explaining the specific beliefs he agreed and disagreed with when he posted the documentary.

“To all Jewish families and communities hurt and affected by my post, I am deeply sorry for causing you pain and I apologize,” Irving wrote. “I initially reacted out of emotion at being unfairly labeled as anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process for my Jewish brothers and sisters who were hurt by the hateful remarks in the documentary.”

Then shoemaker Nike announced it had parted ways with the basketball star on Friday.

“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech and we condemn any form of anti-Semitism,” the Beaverton, Oregon-based company said. “To that end, we have made the decision to suspend our relationship with Kyrie Irving effective immediately and will no longer launch the Kyrie 8.”

Irving has had a signature line with Nike since 2014.

“We are deeply saddened and disappointed by the situation and its impact on everyone,” Nike said.

CBN News has reached out to Amazon for comment. We’ll post it here if we hear back.

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