SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The Golden State Warriors released a statement on Monday, distancing themselves from controversial comments by minority investor Chamath Palihapitiya regarding the ongoing struggle of Uyghur Muslims in China.
On his podcast, Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist who owns 10% of the Warriors, commented on a bill signed by President Joe Biden in December that bans imports from China’s Xinjiang region unless he there is proof that they were not made by forced labour.
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China had been accused of detaining more than a million Turkish Muslim Uyghurs in the region as part of a campaign to wipe out their culture, language and traditional beliefs.
“Let’s be honest, nobody cares what happens to Uyghurs,” Palihapitiya said in a chat with co-host Jason Calacanis. “You talk about it because you really care, and I think it’s good that you care. The rest of us don’t care…I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all things close to my heart, it’s below my line.
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Palihapitiya’s comments sparked a wave of harsh criticism on social media, including from NBA star Enes Kanter Freedom, who added Freedom to his name after becoming a US citizen last year. Kanter Freedom has been critical of the human rights policies of the government of his native Turkey for years.
“When @NBA says we stand for justice, remember there are those who sell their souls for money and business like @chamath the owner of @warriors, who says ‘No one cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs “When genocides happen, it’s people like this who let it happen,” he tweeted.
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On Monday, the Warriors released a statement which read: “As a limited investor who does not have day-to-day operational duties with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly do not reflect those of our organization.