“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs,” billionaire investor and minority owner of the NBA team Golden State Warriors, Chamath Palihapitiya, said on his podcast.
“Of all the things that I care about, I’d say it is below my line,” he said on the latest episode of his podcast “All In.” He listed some things he does care about, including healthcare infrastructure in the U.S., inflation, and climate change, but not the genocide that China is accused of against the minority ethnic group the Muslim Uyghur people.
The comments landed the investor in hot water, causing immediate backlash. Palihapitiya has now responded to the criticism over his comments, saying that he recognizes he came across as lacking empathy.
He said that his belief is that all human rights matter, whether they are in China, in the United States, or anywhere else.
The comments exploded on social media, with the clip being viewed millions of times on Monday.
There was so much backlash that The Warriors had to respond, issuing a statement on Monday that Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of the franchise, and that the view did not reflect that of the organization itself. They clarified that he is only a limited investor with no day-to-day operating functions.
It was following the Warrior’s statement that Palihapitiya issued his own on Twitter.
Criticism has now been reignited of the NBA’s overall relationship with China. Some players have endorsed clothing lines made in China, and some wear clothing that was produced by Uyghur forced labor.
Boston Celtics star Ends Kanter Freedom has been extremely vocal condemning human rights violations and advocating for minorities in China. He responded to the podcast on Twitter that some sell their soul for business and money, including Palihapitiya.
In October, the star led a rally in Washington to urge leaders and lawmakers to support the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.