On Monday night, billionaire tech entrepreneur and part-owner of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, Chamath Palihapitiya, issued a statement — not an apology — claiming that regardless of how he came across on a recent podcast, he really does care about human rights around the world.
While on an episode of the podcast he co-hosts titled, “All-In Podcast,” Palihapitiya had claimed that the United States did not have the moral authority to speak out against the Chinese Communist Party’s human rights abuses due to American prison conditions and other problems found across the United States. Palihapitiya had stated that human rights were a “luxury issue” and that “every time I say that I care about the Uyghurs, I’m really just lying if I don’t really care. And so I’d rather not lie to you and tell you the truth, it’s not a priority for me.” He also stated that issues like climate change and America’s healthcare system were more important to focus on than the plight of millions of Muslims being targeted for their ethnicity and religion in China.
“In re-listening to this week’s podcast, I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy. I acknowledge that entirely,” Palihapitiya tweeted on Monday evening. “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.”
In concluding his statement, the Palihapitiya did not mention the Uyghurs by name and appeared to continue to suggest that issues in the United States are as noteworthy as abuses committed by the Chinese Communist Party. “To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States, or elsewhere,” he added. “Full stop.”
Important issues deserve nuanced discussions. Some clarifying comments: pic.twitter.com/St2jccsu05
— Chamath Palihapitiya (@chamath) January 18, 2022
The NBA has been under criticism for continuing business with China and refusing to speak out against a myriad of issues plaguing the communist state while numerous star athletes and coaches, including the Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, have blasted the U.S. for supposed systemic racism in policing and other areas of government.
As The Daily Wire reported earlier on Monday, Palihapitiya’s initial comments came during Sunday’s edition of the “All-In Podcast,” a show he co-hosts with industry colleagues Jason Calacanis, David Sacks, and David Friedberg. Calacanis, for his part, pushed back against Palihapitiya saying that the CCP’s imprisoning of more than 1 million Uyghurs was comparable with the Holocaust and that his accusations against America were disproportionate.
During a discussion about President Joe Biden’s potential 2024 chances, Calacanis praised the president for “the fact that he came out with a statement on the Uyghurs” that was “very strong.” Calacanis noted that support for it was “not coming up in the polls.”
In late December 2021, Biden signed a bill banning American companies from importing materials from the region where Muslim Uyghurs are currently imprisoned, indoctrinated, and abused by the CCP.
At that point, Palihapitiya interjected, “Let’s be honest, Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay? You bring it up because you really care and I think that’s nice that you really care –”
“What? Do you mean that you don’t care?” Calacanis interrupted.
“The rest of us don’t care,” Palihapitiya said bluntly.
“I’m telling you a very hard ugly truth, okay? Of all the things that I care about, yes it is below my line, okay? Of all the things that I care about, it is below my line,” Palihapitiya continued.
“Disappointing,” Calacanis said remorsefully.
The initial comments were flagged by The Washington Examiner’s Jerry Dunleavy and can be seen here:
“Nobody cares about what’s happening to the Uyghurs, okay? … I’m telling you a very hard ugly truth… Of all the things I care about, yes it is below my line.”
—Chamath Palihapitiya (billionaire CEO of Social Capital & part owner of Golden State Warriors)pic.twitter.com/gPGLpg4vgO
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) January 17, 2022
As the conversation continued, the podcast hosts entered into a debate comparing the moral authority of the U.S. to the CCP.
“Well, I think people if you explain to them what’s happening to the Uyghurs in China, they care, but it’s not top of mind for them,” Sacks tried to explain. “What’s on their mind right now is they go to their grocery store and the shelves are empty.”
“That’s not caring,” Palihapitiya explained, “Sure that I care about, yeah I care about the fact that our economy could turn on a dime if China invades Taiwan. I care about that. I care about climate change, you know I care about a bunch I care about America’s crippling and you know decrepit healthcare 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. And 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. And so I’d rather not lie to you and tell you the truth, it’s not a priority for me.”
In the continued “nuance” conversation, Palihapitiya questioned whether the Chinese Communist Party really was a dictatorial state, compared prison gangs to abuses in China, and stated that the situation for the Uyghurs was not like the Holocaust.
Currently, it is estimated there are more than 1 million Uyghurs and other ethnic Muslim minorities held in concentration camps in the Chinese region of Xinjiang.
The entire conversation can be seen below: