What have Kyrie Irving really stated about the antisemitic movie she aired?
It was hours before he was scheduled to play his first match after the team removed him from the team on November. 4. The first part of his speech that lasted longer than three minutes. the following day, he was asked four questions.
Irving has missed eight games, and was declared "currently unfit to be associated with the Brooklyn Nets" in a press release issued by the team and his shoe contract was ended by Nike due to an antisemitism-related scandal that began by he promoting a movie through social media. Yet, in between his two savage press events, his interview with SNY on Saturday, and his last one, he's spoken very little about the contents of the film.
The final question he was asked on Sunday was easy to answer: The crux of the film is Black people are actually Israelites in the Bible What do you think about this?
"Well, that was the intent when I was watching the movie, was to have a deeper understanding of my family heritage and where I come from," Irving stated. "And when I said I meant no harm, I meant that. To learn about the lost tribes of Israel, to learn about Black history in a way where it's not degrading anyone else's history is important to me."
A little background: The movie that he saw, "Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America," is filled with conspiratorial theories and lies concerning Jewish people. It claims it is "false white Jews" are trying to "extort America" because they "know that the Negroes as the Real Children of Israel," with a fake statement by Adolf Hitler (with his first name incorrectly written) as evidence. Both the film as well as the novel is based on contain an unambiguous Holocaust denial.
According to Jon Blistein of Rolling Stone, Diana Moskovitz of Defector, Yaron Weitzman of Fox Sports and Drew Magary of SFGate have explained, the film promotes the views of the extremist segment within the Black Hebrew Israelite movement. Magary said it was "a fundamentally antisemitic work built around the belief that Black people are the original Hebrews, and that present-day Jews have stolen their identity and used it to run the world." (Not all black Hebrew Israelites "claim an exclusive identity as the true chosen people of God and decry Jews as the impostors and thieves," however, this is the view that is the belief of Radical Hebrew Israelites, who are classified as an anti-Semitic group (by The Southern Poverty Law Center.)
That is If you're looking to understand Black culture from a reliable sources "Hebrews to Negores: Wake Up Black America" is not the right choice. That's why some of the stated requirements for Irving to be allowed to return to court was that he meet to the press and declare that the film was injurious and false and that regret having it in the first place.
What exactly is it that Irving actually stated?
In his answer to the question at the end of Sunday's debate continued to state that he's "proud to know where I come from" and also that he's "not perfect," but he does have "a gift from God" to "bring people together in ways that go way beyond things I can understand right now," saying that the man will "continue to be a student of life and continue to learn through my mistakes."
He explained"that "all this started" because he was trying "to understand what anti-Blackness actually was. It resulted in me watching a film which led to exploring and opening my eyes to more than I can express in words at the moment. There are deeper conversations I'd like to have about the genealogy of Hebrews as well as the lineage of many of our culture across the globe."
In the course of its broadcast on Saturday, Irving told SNY that the "wanted to share the link with all those that were also on the same journey and search for their heritage as I am on." Irving said the "the majority of the documentary was speaking on the lost tribes of our world, Black people specifically, and dealing with other races that are also searching for their history."
Irving has since apologized a number of times for the damage that he caused to his Jewish community. Irving has admitted that he ought to have immediately answer questions from reporters before being suspended. On Sunday, however the player also claimed that the team had been "rightfully defensive" at the moment and that the team's return-to play requirements "pinned me in a corner as if I was guilty of something and as if I was this antisemitic person, this label that was placed on me." If Irving does not fully reject the thesis that is "Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America," the author hasn't said it at this point.
What he's said at numerous times is that he was raised in a melting-potthe Sunday before, he said it"a "racial harmonious environment" -that he could freely speak without fear of "the judgment of being harshly criticized and being canceled," as he said on Saturday.
In his press conference following the game on October. 29 Irving declared:
"I'm not a divisive person when it comes to religion. I embrace all walks of life. You see it on all my platforms. I talk to all races, all cultures, all religions. And my response would be it's not about educating yourself on what semitism is, what antisemitism is, it's really about learning the root words of where these come from and understanding that this is an African heritage that is also belonging to people. Africa is in it, whether we want to dismiss it or not. So, the claims of antisemitism -- and 'who are the original chosen people of God?' -- and we go into these religious conversations and it's a big no-no. I don't live my life that way."
After his apology, Irving has consistently framed the film as an important stage in his education thatunfortunately contained some antisemitism. In the past weekend, he stated"the film "generalized" Jewish people.
From the interview on Saturday with SNY:
"The unsettling aspect of this three-hour film is the antisemitic comments made in the context of broadening the definition of Jewish individuals. I consider that to be unjust, and this wasn't the main point of the piece that I intended the attention to be placed on. The original post was intended to appeal to anyone who is looking for more details, more background and were able to see it from a perspective that they perceive it as progress and learn from it.
"Again, it was just a post. It was no context i put into it. I was just watching the video to learn more about the heritage, do a deeper dive into who I am. And unfortunately in that process, I hurt some people, and I'm sorry for that. But the search for what tribe I belong to, where I come from, is ongoing. And I'm continuing this search with God and, wherever I'm placed, I believe that that's where I'm supposed to be."
On Sunday, you can access:
"To be generalized in a society is one of the worst things we can do. And so I didn't want to generalize harmfully (about) Jews. It ended up being attached to my name and I felt defensive, but initially when you're dealing with that emotion, I think you gotta let it out and I did and there were some things that were misinterpreted and misunderstood in those comments in those press conferences. All I was meaning to say is that I stand strong with the people I come from."
Irving declared that he is trying to let everyone and not just Jewish people be aware that he's "here to listen and I'm here to stand with you against any issues that may be plaguing your community." As Weitzman said three years ago, in Jersey City, there was shootings at a supermarket shop in the Hasidic neighborhood, driven by the same antisemitic conspiracy theories discussed in "Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America." Following the time that Irving made the film public and made it viral, the rankings on Amazon, and there's been plenty of people who want to speak to Irving about the issue of antisemitism.
Although Irving hasn't revealed exactly whom he spoke to in the course of his detention, the actor did say that he was apologizing due to the fact that "different people within the Jewish community" helped him gain "a deeper understanding of what's going on and the impact that was made and the hurt that was caused." If he truly understands what he's been through, why did he stay clear of disavowing the film completely?