Amazon CEO Andy Jassy revealed at the New York Times‘ DealBook Summit in New York City that the controversial and anti-Semitic film that Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving shared on his Twitter account will not be removed from Amazon.
“As a retailer of content to hundreds of millions of customers with a lot of different viewpoints, we have to allow access to those viewpoints, even if they are objectionable — objectionable and they differ from our particular viewpoints,” Jassy said.
It’s extremely unfortunate that Amazon won’t follow suit with Barnes & Noble, which took the book down because of its message. The film is titled “Hebrews to Negroes: Wake Up Black America!” and was shared by Irving on Twitter earlier this season, a move which led to an eventual suspension from the Nets.
Irving wasn’t suspended immediately after sharing the film on his account, but he refused to apologize to those who he harmed by promoting the message in a series of press conferences.
Once the team issued a minimum five-game suspension with a series of requirements Irving needed to meet to return, the seven-time All-Star issued an apology.
“While doing research on YHWH, I posted a Documentary that contained some false anti-Semitic statements, narratives, and language that were untrue and offensive to the Jewish Race/Religion, and I take full accountability and responsibility for my actions,” Irving wrote on his Instagram. “I am grateful to have a big platform to share knowledge and I want to move forward by having an open dialogue to learn more and grow from this.
“To All Jewish families and Communities that are hurt and affected from my post, I am deeply sorry to have caused you pain, and I apologize. I initially reacted out of emotion to being unjustly labeled Anti-Semitic, instead of focusing on the healing process of my Jewish Brothers and Sisters that were hurt from the hateful remarks made in the Documentary. I want to clarify any confusion on where I stand fighting against Anti-Semitism by apologizing for posting the documentary without context and a factual explanation outlining the specific beliefs in the Documentary I agreed with and disagreed with. I had no intentions to disrespect any Jewish cultural history regarding the Holocaust or perpetuate any hate. I am learning from this unfortunate event and hope we can find understanding between us all. I am no different than any other human being. I am a seeker of truth and knowledge, and I know who I Am.”
Irving ended up missing eight games because of the incident, but he has since returned to the Nets and played in the team’s last seven contests.
The one-time NBA champion is averaging 24.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 47.6 percent from the field and 32.5 percent from beyond the arc this season.
Despite the controversy surrounding the film, it appears that Jassy and Amazon are comfortable leaving it available for people to watch.
It’s unfortunate that hate towards any group of people can be spread so easily, especially by false statements made in things such as this documentary.
Hopefully, Irving has learned from his mistake and taken the necessary steps to understand why sharing and promoting the documentary was the wrong thing to do.
While Amazon won’t take the step to remove the documentary, it’s possible that Irving’s apology and the uproar that his post caused throughout the NBA will show that not everything can be taken as a fact.