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How Kyrie Irving’s Antisemitism Scandal Vanished

Kyrie Irving, one of the NBA’s most high-profile players, found himself at the center of controversy when he promoted a documentary that claimed Jews had fabricated the Holocaust and misled the world about being God’s chosen people. The scandal erupted around the same time as antisemitic comments by rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, and caused a brief but intense backlash.

The Incident and Initial Reactions

Irving’s promotion of the documentary “Hebrews to Negroes” sparked outrage. He faced accusations of antisemitism, was suspended, and made a donation to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which was later rejected after more inflammatory comments. Despite his initial defiance, Irving eventually apologized. However, after being traded from the Brooklyn Nets to the Dallas Mavericks, he deleted his social media post containing the apology.

Current Situation

Now, Irving is leading the Mavericks on a playoff run, and concerns about his alleged antisemitism have largely faded. As Louis Keene, who covered the original controversy, explained, the issue only resurfaces when Irving performs well, leading his fans to lament past attempts to cancel him. Jewish Mavericks fans, whether they like him personally or not, are rooting for Irving to succeed. Ben Calmenson, a 28-year-old fan, admitted he has “forgotten about the antisemitism,” despite occasionally cringing at some of Irving’s actions, such as wearing a keffiyeh to a press conference.

The Selective Memory of Scandals

Irving’s case illustrates how selective the organized Jewish community can be when addressing antisemitism. Major Jewish groups, like the American Jewish Committee, quickly dropped efforts to convince Amazon to remove the antisemitic film after CEO Andy Jassy refused. This selective focus is not new; it shifts based on current concerns and broader societal issues. If Irving’s scandal had occurred 30 years ago, during heightened concerns over “Black antisemitism,” it might have garnered more sustained attention.

Celebrity and Influence

Irving’s celebrity status complicates efforts to hold him accountable. While Jewish leaders can influence college campuses and Congress, it’s much harder to sanction superstars for what are ultimately intemperate comments. Additionally, Irving plays for a team owned by Mark Cuban, a well-known Jewish figure, who is in the process of selling the Mavericks to Miriam Adelson, the wife of the late Jewish casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. This connection to prominent Jewish figures further complicates the narrative.


The Kyrie Irving saga demonstrates the complexities of addressing antisemitism, especially when it involves high-profile celebrities. While Irving’s comments and actions initially caused significant outrage, his continued success on the basketball court and the selective focus of organized Jewish groups have allowed the scandal to fade from public memory.


The information provided in this article is based on the latest available details at the time of publication. Developments in personal and professional life are subject to change based on ongoing events and announcements. For the most current updates, refer to official sources and news outlets.

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