Warriors part-owner Chamath Palihapitiya says he doesn't care about genocide in China, then backtracks

Chamath Palihapitiya, a billionaire Silicon Valley venture capitalist and part-owner of the Golden State Warriors, attempted to backtrack from recent comments he made that "nobody cares," including himself, about the ongoing Uyghur genocide in China.

The subject came up on Palihapitiya's "All-In Podcast," when co-host Jason Calacanis praised President Joe Biden's condemnation of the human rights abuses inflicted by the Chinese government, including genocide and forced labor in the northwest region of Xinjiang. In December, Biden signed legislation banning imports from the region.

Just before the 15-minute mark of the podcast, Palihapitiya interrupted Calacanis and said, "Nobody cares about what's happening to the Uyghurs, OK? You bring it up because you really care. And I think that's nice that you care. The rest of us don't care."

When Calacanis responded by asking Palihapitiya if he personally doesn't care, Palihapitiya continued: "I'm telling you a very hard ugly truth, OK? Of all the things I care about, yes, it is below my line."

Palihapitiya repeated that the genocide was below his line, and went on to say that he instead cares about such issues as America's supply-chain problems, climate change and the potential harm to the United States economy if China were to invade Taiwan.

Palihapitiya, who briefly floated a run for governor of California before the recall election of Gavin Newsom, previously tweeted that he's a 10% owner of the Warriors. On Monday, the team made a public statement distancing themselves from his comments, though the statement didn't specify what, exactly, the Warriors were objecting to.

"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 statement said.

As social media criticism mounted Monday, including from NBA player Enes Kanter Freedom, Palihapitiya released a statement essentially denying the comments he'd made.

"In re-listening to this week's podcast, I recognize that I came across as lacking empathy," the Sri Lanka-born Palihapitiya wrote. "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."

In December, an independent body in the United Kingdom declared the actions against the Uyghur minority population as an act of genocide. The ruling was based on evidence that the Chinese government's forced birth control and sterilization policies targeting Uyghurs in the far western Xinjiang province were "intended to destroy a significant part" of the group's population.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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