I bet this guy’s arm had to be twisted by everyone around him to get him to put out this phoned-in lame-ass quasi-apology. After all, he wasn’t just unapologetic for not caring about China’s human rights abuses in the clip I posted yesterday. He seemed proud of it. A guy with f***-you money was daring to state an opinion many others also hold but don’t have the guts to admit.
He was posturing as a truthteller. And for added self-congratulation, he framed his disinterest in China’s atrocities in the most progressive possible terms. He’ll care about crimes against humanity committed by Beijing against a religious minority as soon as all injustices in America are solved and not a moment sooner. “[Chamath] Palihapitiya is much angrier with the people calling out China’s abuses of the Uyghurs than he is with China for actually abusing the Uyghurs,” Jim Geraghty noted astutely about the conversation Palihapitiya had with his co-hosts. It was a witch’s brew of wokery, parochialism, and genocidal apologetics.
He couldn’t get through a five-sentence statement cleaning up what he said without implicitly drawing another moral equivalence between China and the U.S.
He couldn’t bring himself to include the word “Uighurs” in his statement either.
“Important issues deserve nuanced discussions,” Palihapitiya wrote in the tweet in which he published his statement. But that’s just it. What he said about not caring about the ongoing genocide did come in the course of a nuanced discussion. It wasn’t a throwaway remark rashly made while chatting about another subject. He and his co-hosts went back and forth on it for many minutes. “This wasn’t an ambush interview; this was his own podcast with his friends,” Geraghty pointed out. “This wasn’t a brief comment taken out of context; this was an impassioned argument that criticizing China’s human-rights record was deplorable.”
The guy smugly stated his honest opinion, clearly believing he’d draw no social repercussions. And now he has, so he’s dropping the “bold truthteller” act and burbling dishonestly about insufficient “nuance.” His own team felt obliged to tiptoe away from his callousness with this statement:
The White House kept its distance too, a notable snub given that Palihapitiya donated a quarter million dollars to Biden last year and three quarters of a million to Chuck Schumer’s PAC:
A White House spokeswoman told the Washington Free Beacon the Biden administration rejects Palihapitiya’s statement. “The Biden Administration rejects this statement and will continue to hold the PRC accountable,” the spokeswoman said, pointing to Biden’s support for the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and other measures to “ensure all global supply chains are free from the use of forced labor.”
The titans of industry can’t be threatened financially. There’ll always be more money to be made from China by stooging for the regime than there will be lost here due to halting boycott efforts. But making them a social liability to people whose opinions they care about might make them think twice.
Some on social media wondered yesterday whether the NBA should punish Palihapitiya by forcing him to sell his stake in the Warriors, like it did to Donald Sterling when he was caught on tape making racist comments. There’s a difference between the two cases from the NBA’s cynical standpoint, though, namely that Sterling’s comments were bad for business while Palihapitiya’s are neutral at worst and possibly even an asset. If the league didn’t act against Sterling it would have been an insult to African-American players and fans, which might have hit them in the wallet. If the league doesn’t act against Palihapitiya then … what? Who’s going to protest? If anything, China might look to reward the league for going easy on him.
That is to say, the irony of Palihapitiya’s remarks is that he’ll get off easy because he told the abhorrent truth. Most people just don’t care about China’s human rights abuses. It’s “below their line” of things to fret about, to borrow his own cold-blooded phrasing.
I’ll leave you with a guy who does care and hasn’t been shy about it: Enes Kanter Freedom, taking it to Palihapitiya on Fox last night.
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