By Ryan Glasspiegel
January 17, 2022
A minority owner of the Golden State Warriors is getting shredded on social media for callously admitting he does not care about Uyghur genocide in China.
Chamath Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist who owns 2 percent of the NBA franchise, expressed cold indifference to the plight of the Uyghurs, an ethnic Muslim minority that has been persecuted in China, on his “All In” podcast over the weekend.
When co-host Jason Calacanis said President Biden’s statement about the Uyghurs was one of the stronger things he’s said, Palihapitiya interjected that nobody cares about them.
Chamath Palihapitiya, part-owner of the Golden State Warriors, said he does not care about Uyghur genocide in China.
“Let’s be honest, nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs,” Palihapitiya said. “You bring it up because you really care, and I think that’s nice that you care. The rest of us don’t care.
“I’m telling you a very hard, ugly truth. Of all the things that I care about, it is below my line.”
David Sacks, the third co-host of the podcast, said that if you bring up everything that is happening with the Uyghurs, Americans care — but it is not at the “top of their minds.”
“I care about [empty shelves at grocery stores]. I care about the fact that our economy could turn on a dime if China invades Taiwan. I care about that,” Palihapitiya said. “I care about climate change. I care about America’s crippling and decrepit health care infrastructure.
“But if you’re asking me do I care about a segment of a class of people in another country? Not until we can take care of ourselves will I prioritize them over us. I think a lot of people believe that and I’m sorry if that’s a hard truth to hear. But every time I say that I care about the Uyghurs, I’m really just lying if I don’t really care.”
The Warriors distanced themselves from Palihapitiya’s opinion on Monday.
“As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don’t reflect those of our organization,” the team said in a statement.
The Uyghurs have been subjected to rape, sterilizations and slave labor. Biden signed a bill in December banning imports from the Xinjiang region of China unless it can be proven the goods were not made with forced labor.
Calacanis said it’s a sad state of affairs if people can’t care about global human rights.
“That’s a luxury belief,” Palihapitiya responded. “The reason I think that is we don’t do enough domestically to actually express that view in real tangible ways. So until we actually clean up our own house, the idea that we step outside our borders, with us morally virtue-signaling about someone else’s human rights record, is deplorable.”
Human rights in China is a third-rail topic for the NBA. The league had a lot of its future growth pegged to its relationship with China, when then-Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted to “Free Hong Kong” in support of democracy protesters and ignited a firestorm in 2019.
76ers president Daryl Morey
NBAE via Getty Images
LeBron James, who has major film and apparel businesses tied to the China market, called Morey “misinformed” and “not educated” on the subject.