People take part in a protest against China's alleged abuse of the Uyghurs Muslim community in the Xinjiang region on Dec. 27, 2019, near the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Hundreds of protesters voiced their anger at the alleged "re-education camps" and "normalization" of Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in China. File Photo by Fazry Ismail/EPA-EFE
Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Billionaire entrepreneur and Golden State Warriors minority owner Chamath Palihapitiya is under fire for saying "nobody cares" about the Uyghurs in China, leading to the Warriors' decision to distance themselves from him.
On the latest episode of his All-In podcast, Palihapitiya shrugged off the situation in China, which is accused by the United States of genocide and crimes against humanity due to its treatment of the Uyghurs Muslim community in the Xinjiang region in northwest China.
"Nobody cares about what's happening to the Uyghurs, OK? I'm telling you a very hard, ugly truth," Palihapitiya said Saturday on the podcast. "Of all the things that I care about, yes, it is below my line."
The Warriors addressed Palihapitiya's comments Monday saying his views aren't reflective of those of the franchise.
"As a limited investor who has no day-to-day operating functions with the Warriors, Mr. Palihapitiya does not speak on behalf of our franchise, and his views certainly don't reflect those of our organization," the Warriors said in a statement.
Palihapitiya, who was born in Sri Lanka, later walked back his comments. In a Twitter post, he wrote that "important issues deserve nuanced discussions."
"In re-listening to this week's podcast, I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy," he wrote on social media. "I acknowledge that entirely. 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.
"To be clear, my belief is that human rights matter, whether in China, the United States, or elsewhere. Full stop."
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter Freedom, who has been one of the NBA's vocal leaders about social injustices around the world, expressed his outrage on social media.
"When @NBA says we stand for justice, don't forget there are those who sell their soul for money and business like @chamath the owner of @warriors who says 'Nobody cares about what's happening to the Uyghurs.' When genocides happen, it is people like this that let it happen," Kanter wrote Monday on Twitter.
After Tuesday's shootaround, Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins was asked about Palihapitiya's comments. Wiggins made it clear they have different beliefs on the Uyghurs.