New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft sponsored an ad that ran during broadcasts of NFL games on Sunday calling on viewers to “stand up against Jewish hate.”
The ads were aired as Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, continues to face widespread backlash after making a string of antisemitic remarks that have been followed by a wave of high-profile antisemitic incidents across the United States, including messages that were posted to an electronic board at a football stadium in Florida over the weekend.
“Antisemitism is hate. Hate against Jews. For being Jewish,” the 30-second ad released by the Foundation to Combat Antisemitism and the Robert K. Kraft Family Foundation said. “Recently many of you have spoken up. We hear you today. We must hear you tomorrow.”
The Foundation to Combat Antisemitism said on its website that the ad was first aired during the first quarter of the Patriots’ game against the New York Jets on Sunday. The organization said the ad was put out with the goal of “calling attention to the concerning rise of antisemitism and mobilizing all Americans to #StandUpToJewishHate.”
“We must do more to make people aware that antisemitism is a growing threat against Jews on social media and in communities across the country,” Kraft said in a statement. “My hope is this commercial will continue to enhance the national conversation about the need to speak out against hatred of all types, and particularly to stand up to Jewish hate,” he said.
Last week, a string of companies cut ties with Ye in the wake of his antisemitic comments, with Adidas on Tuesday joining Balenciaga and prominent talent agency CAA in ending its partnership with the entertainer.
Adidas made the decision after facing mounting pressure to ends its business relationship with Ye after an antisemitic hate group hung a banner over a Los Angeles freeway Saturday that read “Kanye is right about the Jews,” sparking widespread outrage.
On Sunday, Ye appeared to show support for Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving and sports commentator Stephen A. Smith, calling them “real ones.” Irving recently came under fire after sharing a film deemed antisemitic on social media, prompting Nets owner Joe Tsai to say he was “disappointed” in the decision.
In a statement Saturday, Irving said he meant no disrespect and called himself an “OMNIST,” a person who believes in all religions.
“The ‘Anti-Semitic’ label that is being pushed on me is not justified and does not reflect the reality or truth I live in everyday,” he said on Twitter. “I embrace and want to learn from all walks of life and religions.”
In recent days a number of other antisemitic incidents have unfolded in the U.S., including in Florida, where antisemitic messages in support of Ye’s comments were played across an electronic screen at TIAA Bank Field stadium in Jacksonville over the weekend.
The same antisemitic message appeared to flash across at least one other nearby building soon after the initial message aired at the TIAA Bank Field stadium, video shared on social media showed.
Both the universities of Georgia and Florida football teams, which squared off at the stadium on Saturday, condemned the message in a joint statement Sunday.
“The University of Florida and the University of Georgia together denounce these and all acts of antisemitism and other forms of hatred and intolerance,” the joint statement read. “We are proud to be home to strong and thriving Jewish communities at UGA and UF, and we stand together against hate.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was at Saturday’s game, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry tweeted. As of Sunday afternoon, he had not made any public comments about the message that appeared at the game.
“Jacksonville is a city made better because of its diversity, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry said in a statement shared on Twitter on Sunday. “Those who spread messages of hate, racism and antisemitism will not be able to change the heart of this city or her people. I condemn these cowards and their cowardly messages.”
The Anti-Defamation League warned earlier this month that Ye’s comments were being “embraced by antisemitic extremist groups.”
Julianne McShane, Morgan Sung and Minyvonne Burke contributed.
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