Venture capitalist and part-owner of the NBA Golden State Warriors, Chamath Palihapitiya, stated that “Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs,” sparking outrage from some who considered the remarks insensitive.
Palihapitiya commented recently during a discussion about the Biden administration on his podcast All-In. Palihapitiya explained that he believes domestic issues within the United States should be prioritized over human rights violations abroad.
“Until we actually clean up our own house, the idea that we step outside of our borders with, you know, with us sort of like morally virtue signaling about somebody else’s human rights track record is deplorable,” Palihapitiya said.
China was found guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity — including the rape, sterilization, torture, and imprisonment of the predominately Muslim Uyghur population in Xinjiang Province — by an independent tribunal in December, according to an article published by KNBR.
As reported by The Hill, Palihapitiya added that he has “zero tolerance” for White men in positions of power who focus on condemning China for their human rights abuses, while neglecting people of color living within the United States.
Palihapitiya noted the issues he believes warrant significant concern including climate change and the prospective detriment to the United States economy if China were to invade Taiwan in an SF Gate article.
“I think that we have an abysmal track record of taking care of colored men and women in this country,” Palihapitiya asserted. “Fix your own inside backyard because you guys are the ones … you are uniquely in a position of power in a way the rest of us are not. And so when you guys clean up the inside then we can go and fix the outside.”
Enis Kanter of the Boston Celtics condemned Palihapitiya’s remarks on Twitter.
The Golden State Warriors also released a statement recently denouncing Palihapitiya comments.
“As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization,” the team said.
However, The Warriors and other NBA teams have “come under steady criticism,” according to The Hill, for neglecting social issues concerning China. LeBron James, among many other NBA players, has been an outspoken human rights activists in America, while “ignoring” China.
On Monday, Palihapitiya posted a statement on Twitter reflecting on the comments he made during the most recent episode of his podcast.
“In re-listening to this week’s podcast, I recognize that I came across as lacking empathy,” Palihapitiya said. “As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own set of human rights issues so this is something that is very much a part of my lived experience. To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States, or elsewhere. Full stop.”
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