Chamath Palihapitiya, a venture capitalist who owns two percent of the Golden State Warriors, is walking back remarks he made over the weekend that “no one” cares about the genocide of the Uyghur Muslims in China and neither does he.
“In re-listening to this week’s podcast, I recognize that I come across as lacking empathy,” Palihapitiya tweeted. “I acknowledge that entirely.
“As a refugee, my family fled a country with its own 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.”
The Uyghurs are an ethnic Muslim minority in China that have endured slave labor, rape and forced sterilizations. President Joe Biden signed a bill in December that prohibited the import of goods from the Xinjiang region of China unless it could be proven they were not produced with forced labor.
On the “All In” podcast, on which Palihapitiya is a co-host, he responded to a comment that President Biden’s defense of the Uyghurs was admirable but has not shown up in the polls.
“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.”
He said that he cared more about various domestic inconveniences.
“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.”
Caring about global human rights was a “luxury,” he believed.
“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.”
The Warriors distanced themselves from Palihapitiya’s remarks.
“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 team said in a statement.